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)


Lauré Campbell has served as San Francisco Opera’s orchestra librarian for an incredible 41 seasons. From just down the hall from the orchestra pit, Lauré’s job has been to acquire the sheet music for each production – whether from the Company’s own library or another source, mark it up to the necessary specifications, and have it ready for each member of the orchestra. Retiring this spring, we asked Lauré a few questions about what’s changed during her tenure, what hasn’t, and what she’ll miss most.

Posted: 01/24/2012 by Lauré Campbell, Orchestra Librarian


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)


San Francisco Opera Principal Oboist Mingjia Liu knows it takes a whole lot of time and preparation for any orchestra member to prepare their music for an opera performance. What many people do not realize is that playing the oboe includes a whole other type of preparation--reed preparation. In this video, Mingjia explains the unique task he tackles every single day before he even lifts his instrument out of the case.

 

Posted: 11/14/2011 by Mingjia Liu (Principal Oboe)


Inexplicable things happen to me in London. Several years ago I made an early morning visit to Westminster Abbey, that great reliquary of historical memory, and found it almost empty and utterly silent, a rare state for one of the world’s great tourist magnets. I intended to spend a few quiet moments at the memorial stone of my favorite composer, George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), the great German-born composer, Italian-trained, and rightly claimed by England as their own.

Posted: 11/11/2011 by Patrick Summers (Conductor, Xerxes)


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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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