Backstage at San Francisco Opera > August 2012 > San Francisco Opera by the Numbers
San Francisco Opera by the Numbers
As we get ready for the 2012-13 Season and the 90th anniversary of San Francisco Opera, we thought it would be fun to share some interesting factoids on the Company. This is by no means a comprehensive list--we could go on for days but we've got a show to put on! However, we are open to suggestions, what other by the number facts would you like to know? Post your question on our Facebook page or send us a Tweet.

San Francisco Opera has mounted the 2012-13 Season opener Rigoletto in 34 previous seasons since 1923.

The 2012-13 Season will be only the second time we have mounted The Capulets and The Montagues. The first time was in 1991. The photo below is from the 1991 production starring Cecilia Gasdia as Giulietta and Delores Ziegler as Romeo. Photo by Marty Sohl.

San Francisco Opera has presented 10 mainstage world premiere operas. The most recent was Heart of a Soldier in 2011 starring Thomas Hampson and Bill Burden. Photo by Cory Weaver.

San Francisco Opera has presented 18 mainstage United States premieres. The most recent was Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre in 2004. Photo by Larry Merkle.

There are 3,148 seats in the War Memorial Opera House. Photo by David Wakely.

Proceeds from San Francisco Opera Guild’s Opera Ball 2012 help fund opera education programs that will reach more than 60,000 students this year. Below are students from the Tenderloin Community School getting a lesson in performance. Photo by Kristen Loken.

David Gockely is San Francisco Opera's sixth General Director. Photo by Terrence McCarthy.

Nicola Luisotti is San Francisco Opera's third Music Director.

Over 165,000 people have attended San Francisco Opera simulcasts since 2006. Don't forget to mark your calendars for the next simulcast at AT&T Park on Saturday, September 15 at 8 p.m. Photo by Edgar Lee.

This year’s Opera in the Park concert marks the company’s 39th year of bringing free opera to Golden Gate Park. Photo by Scott Wall.

In 90 years, San Francisco Opera has only flown in one replacement singer on Opening Night. In 1983 Placido Domingo flew across the country in a private Learjet to save the opening of San Francisco Opera’s 61st Season. Domingo--one of the most famous singers in the world--stepped in at the last moment to replace tenor Carlo Cossutta in the title role of Verdi’s Otello. Here is then General Director Terence McEwen ushering in Domingo. Photo by Christ Stewart/SF Chronicle.

As part of the San Francisco Opera Education Department’s Opera ARIA program, 1,131 students from 12 schools created and performed 47 original mini-operas in 2011–12. Photo by Kristen Loken.

There are 35 horse saddles used in our production of The Capulets and The Montagues. Photo by Wilfried Hosl Bavarian State Opera.

Since its inception in 1977, we have had 289 young artists participate in the Adler Fellowship program. Below are the current 2012 Adler Fellows. Photo by Kristen Loken.

There are 92 pages in Rigoletto program. Image by Giorgio de Chirico.

There are 50 regular chorus members.

There are 38 extra chorus members.

There are 76 orchestra members. Here is a photo of a recent rehearsal. Photo by Cory Weaver.


Posted: 8/29/2012 4:19:12 PM by San Francisco Opera
Filed under: 2012-13Season


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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