Backstage at San Francisco Opera > December 2012 > Happy 90th Birthday San Francisco Opera
Happy 90th Birthday San Francisco Opera
On Saturday November 10, San Francisco Opera opened the doors of the War Memorial Opera house and welcomed thousands of Bay Area residents and visitors to our first ever Community Open House! Presented in celebration of our 90th Season and the opening of the opera house 80 years ago, this completely free event was geared towards opera lovers and newbies of all ages. Activities ranged from crafts, temporary tattoos and sing-alongs to musical performances, technical demonstrations and screenings of Carmen for Families--The Movie! One of the most popular highlights of the day was the costume photo booth where guests were able to try on actual San Francisco Opera costumes and pose for photos taken by a professional photographer. From the moment lines began to form around the block in the morning to the moment the last person walked out the door, we were overwhelmed by the response from each and every one of you. Seeing every nook and cranny of this iconic building filled with smiling, energetic faces was truly a sight to behold! We think Gaetano Merola and the founders of San Francisco Opera would be thrilled to see all of you enjoying the fruits of their labors all these years later. All photos by Kristen Loken.

Coloring costume designs from Tosca

Getting temporary paint tattoos of the San Francisco Opera logo from the makeup department

More costume coloring...

Learning to sing a tune from The Magic Flute with Adler Fellow Joo Won Kang.

All ready for the screening of Carmen for Families--The Movie! to begin

Adler Fellow Brian Jagde, Don Jose in Carmen for Families--The Movie! signs autographs for young fans

Posing with several of the beautiful dresses Tosca wears

More fun with crafts

A future opera lover explores the theater

Music Director Nicola Luisotti and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra entertain the crowd in one of several musical demonstrations

Soprano Melody Moore, who covered the role of Tosca in this fall's production, sings the famous Vissi d'arte aria. Little did she know then that she would be called in to perform the role twice during the run of opera!

The San Francisco Opera chorus sings one of Wagner's most recognizable tunes, his Wedding March and Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin.

Young fans peek inside the orchestra pit

Director of Production Greg Weber leads a technical demonstration as the stage crew sets up for the next performance of Tosca on the stage

Adler Fellow Ao Li and a future opera star

Guests were able to dress up in San Francisco Opera costumes and have their photo taken by a professional! If you had your photo taken, click here to view and purchase photos.

David Gockley gets a hi-five during the "Meet the General Director" segment

Signing his name to a homemade arrest warrent prop from Carmen

Making homemade castanets from Carmen


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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