“What do you mean when we spin Nixon on the banquet table?” My head cocked to one side the way my dog Earl’s does when I ask him to do something new.

For at least seven rehearsal meetings my “Supers” table partner and I had been practicing the choreographed banquet scene for Nixon in China. The table is at least five feet in diameter.

 

Posted: 06/21/2012 by Tess Uriza Holthe (Super, Nixon in China)


It all started innocently enough. Nine year-old Natalie Beier, who always loved art and fashion, needed to do research on costume design for an upcoming school production of Anne of Green Gables. For her research, she came to the opera with her family, went to the library, and ultimately got a very special glimpse into San Francisco Opera's Costume Shop. And for the budding costume designer, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose: to be a supernumerary or "super" chick in this summer's production of The Magic Flute!

Posted: 06/20/2012 by Natalie Beier ("Super" Chick and Budding Costume Designer)


Since announcing the world première of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene for the Spring/Summer of 2013, many subscribers have asked me why we chose to do an opera on this subject. My response is that this is one of the world’s great stories in a new and exciting version, written and performed by some of the most extraordinary artists in opera today. Some, though, have expressed bewilderment. “Mary Magdalene, sure: but a Gospel of Mary? My Bible includes only the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John! How can this be an opera?”

Posted: 03/28/2012 by David Gockley (General Director)


I have received several inquiries into why we are performing our upcoming Magic Flute in English. It’s a good question that deserves an explanation.
 
In Mozart’s time (late 1700’s), Italian was the language of opera. The genre of Italian “opera seria” crossed the Alps and settled in Austria, Germany and England in particular. Audiences in Austria attended “court operas,” supported by the nobility and presented in theaters that were near–or a part of–royal or lordly palaces. One can remember the image of Mozart’s operas being performed in Vienna’s Burgtheater in the film Amadeus. Lots of powdered faces, white wigs and bitchy courtiers. After Cosi fan tutte, Mozart fell out of favor with the Austrian court and lost his salaried position. He was also losing his health.
 
Posted: 03/12/2012 by David Gockley (General Director)


For thirty-five years I’ve maintained that the classic works of the American Musical Theater are fit to be in the repertoire of opera houses. In many ways they ARE our opera. Many were composed for “legit,” unamplified voices, with sizable choruses, orchestras and dancers.





Posted: 02/20/2012 by David Gockley (General Director)


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Introduction

Backstage at San Francisco Opera is a fascinating, fast-moving, mysterious and sacred space for the Company’s singers, musicians, dancers, technicians and production crews. Musical and staging rehearsals are on-going, scenery is loaded in and taken out, lighting cues are set, costumes and wigs are moved around and everything is made ready to receive the audience. From the principal singers, chorus and orchestra musicians to the creative teams for each opera, in addition to the many talented folks who don’t take a bow on stage, this blog offers unique insight, both thought-provoking and light-hearted, into the life backstage at San Francisco Opera.

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