We sat down with San Francisco Opera Guild volunteer docent Timothy J. Muldoon to find out what it’s like leading tours of the War Memorial Opera House, how one keeps straight all the facts and figures and what are some of the most satisfying – and challenging – parts of the job.

How did you come to be an Opera Guild tour docent?
If you’re asking about my motivations for becoming a docent, there are three important ones:

The first time I walked into the Opera House I knew, without doubt, I was standing in the most beautiful building in San Francisco. After all these years, walking into the foyer and looking up at that magnificent vaulted ceiling still gives me chills. I wanted to be a part of that house, and leading tours gives me that opportunity in a very personal way.
Posted: 11/05/2013 by Timothy J. Muldoon (Volunteer Docent)


It’s one of the favors many of us hate to ask for: “Hey there, would you mind picking me up at the airport? And at 11:30pm, since I’m coming in from Europe?”


This most needed and minimally glamorous task is one that Christine Miller and Gary Glaser have done on behalf of San Francisco Opera for more than 30 years. They have picked up countless artists from San Francisco International Airport over the years, and it is one of the many reasons why they are the recipients of the 2013 Spirit of the Opera Award, the highest honor the Opera bestows upon members of our community. 

Posted: 02/21/2013 by San Francisco Opera


It is not surprising that many people assume Herman Melville wrote his classic novel Moby-Dick on Nantucket, a small island off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It is, after all, the setting for much of the book, home port to the Pequod and home to many of the story’s most central characters. But in reality, Melville never set foot on the island before Moby-Dick was published in 1851. He wrote the book at a secluded farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, over 100 miles from the nearest large body of water.

An excerpt from the Berkshire Historical Society explains:

Posted: 10/30/2012 by The Berkshire Historical Society


We at San Francisco Opera think of every person who comes to the Opera as part of our family. And our family, like any family, contains a wide variety of personalities and interests. But the undisputed ‘mother hen’ of our Opera family is Board Member Sylvia Lindsey, who this spring received the 2012 Spirit of the Opera Award, the highest honor the Opera Association confers upon non-artistic members of its community.

Posted: 05/14/2012 by Sylvia Lindsey


As I teach libretto writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, I’ve been asked what lessons I would draw for my own students from "Heart of a Soldier".
 
Since my approach to writing has always been structural, I chose three moments in the first act as formal examples of how to adapt and make dramatic a work of journalism, as well as the very structure of the act and the reaction to the opera as a whole.
Posted: 09/30/2011 by Donna Di Novelli (Librettist, Heart of a Soldier)


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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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