By now most of you realize that the Opera is celebrating its 90th season of producing opera in the Bay Area. Let’s use the occasion to take a brief backward look at the highlights of this extraordinary institution.
In June of 1922, Italian immigrant conductor Gaetano Merola held the first season of his new opera company at the Stanford football stadium in Palo Alto. This initial success led to the founding of the San Francisco Opera and the Company moved to downtown San Francisco, settling in what is now called the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and for two seasons at the Dreamland Auditorium.
Posted: 10/03/2012 by
David Gockley (General Director)
In 1997, we unveiled a brand new production of Verdi's Rigoletto,
designed by Michael Yeargan. Inspired by the surrealist paintings of Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico, the sets shine most because of their simplicity. The colors are bold, the lines are crisp and the lighting is daring. The costumes, designed by Constance Hoffman, are whimsical and classic, bringing these larger-than-life characters their own highly distinct personalities. While many of our 2012-13 Season productions feature brand new sets or bring a production to the Bay Area for the first time, Rigoletto
is a revival of this favorite production. These sets and costumes have been presented at the War Memorial Opera House in three previous seasons, and due to double casting, by no less than six distinct casts. Take a walk down memory lane with us as we remember some of our past Rigolettos, Dukes and Gildas.
Posted: 09/27/2012 by
San Francisco Opera
Have you seen the August issue of Opera News
? The cover story is called “Opera’s Next Wave: The Voices and Faces of the Future.” It’s a great article, and well worth reading while it’s still out on newsstands. Here at San Francisco Opera, we couldn’t help but swell with pride at how many familiar faces graced the pages of this article. Quite a good number of these up and coming opera stars have performed on the War Memorial Opera House stage in the last several years or are scheduled to make debuts in the near future. Which of these fine young musicians, which Opera News
predicts will “break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade,” have we brought to Bay Area audiences lately? Allow us a trip down memory lane. [Left: Luca Pisaroni in The Marriage of Figaro
Posted: 08/10/2012 by
San Francisco Opera
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)