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)


I worked in the rehearsal department for three seasons and after leaving that position, I was prepared to do just about anything.  I could spit out any one of a hundred phone numbers faster than you could pull out your iPhone.  People marvel at that, and I marvel that they marvel. It was just second nature to me and anyone else who worked here.  You have to be ready to do anything at a moment’s notice.  During the 1989 earthquake, one of my co-workers was at the ER with a singer who had injured her ankle during a performance while the rest of us phoned all remaining artists to be certain everyone was OK.  Thankfully, all were fine, and one of our mezzos even invited all of the other artists to her apartment for a chicken dinner.  The very next morning we had set up camp at the Masonic Auditorium where we proceeded to perform a week’s worth of opera there in concert version.  
Posted: 05/04/2012 by Valentina Simi (Artist Services Coordinator & Assistant to the Musical Director)


Most people don’t spend their lives at the opera, although depending on the composer and the evening in question, it might seem that way. But I can say that I have been at the opera, actually in this building, 45 of my 49 years. No, I am not a phantom living in some part of the sub-basement near the stream that runs under the theatre. (Yes, there’s a stream and no, there are no people down there floating around in small boats wearing opulent costumes--at least not that we know of.) 
 
Posted: 04/30/2012 by Valentina Simi (Artist Services Coordinator and Assistant to the Music Director)


When a colleague in production called to ask if I would be willing to be a supernumerary in Carmen my first thought other than – why not!? – was “I have to call Bill.” Bill Klaproth and his wife Roberta are founding members of the Opera’s Medallion Society, longtime subscribers, and two of the most lovely people I have had the privilege of getting to know. When Bill retired in 1990, he decided it was the perfect time to become more involved with the Company, and he applied become a Supernumerary. He’s never looked back. Since 1990, he has appeared in dozens of operas, and is currently supering in his fourth Turandot as one of the soldiers.
Posted: 11/28/2011 by Bonita Hagbom (Individual Giving Officer) and Bill Klaproth (Supernumerary)


I am insufficiently blonde. Sigh. Yes, having blondish hair was one of the main reasons I was wrangled into playing the Super Bride in Heart of a Soldier in the first place. But after our first dress rehearsal, the artistic team realized that with my natural hair curled and coiffed into a style of the era, I looked more like a hippie Flower Child bride. Not, unfortunately, like a big-haired girl from the Lone Star state. Which is what I am supposed to be.
Posted: 10/04/2011 by Kristen Jones (Senior Leadership Gifts Officer & Super Bride, Heart of a Soldier)


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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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