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)


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)


“Do you have to wear your glasses? No? Then I want them off. And do you have high heels with you? Yes? Good. Go put them on. I want you wearing heels.”
 
These are some of the first words spoken to me by director Francesca Zambello as I enter my maiden rehearsal for Heart of a Soldier. Having just come from a day at work, I had changed into flats and put on my glasses--which I typically only wear for driving, movie watching, or making sure flying stage knives aren’t headed my way--so that I would be better prepared for what the night would hold. It was clear in that moment that my journey from mere civilian to Supernumerary (or ‘Super,’ for short) was underway.
Posted: 08/29/2011 by Kristen Jones (Senior Leadership Gifts Officer)


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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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