Backstage at San Francisco Opera > November 2012 > Top Five Reasons to Come to our 90th Season Community Open House
Top Five Reasons to Come to our 90th Season Community Open House
5. You can channel your inner propmaker, costume designer, or makeup master.
Have you ever wanted to create an arrest order and issue it like Scarpia does? Or to apply tattoos (temporary, of course!) like Queequeg wore in Moby-Dick? Maybe you and your family love coloring projects and would love to create costumes for your very own opera paper dolls. We’ll be hosting these projects and more in the main lobby so that opera lovers and the opera curious of all ages can take part!

[Above: A child attends one of our family opera movie screenings.]

4. You can rub elbows (literally) with extraordinary costumes from San Francisco Opera productions.

[Above: Papageno (Nathan Gunn) and Papagena (Nadine Sierra) in The Magic Flute, with costumes designed by renowned artist Jun Kaneko. Photo by Cory Weaver.]
The costumes created by the artisans at our very own San Francisco Opera Costume Shop are GORGEOUS. They can be light and ethereal or be made of upholstery grade fabric and be very, very heavy. Sometimes our costumes can be historically accurate down to the style of button, or they can be completely fantastical and out of this world. And don’t even get us started on the period undergarments. But no matter what, the costumes really do make the character and bring the production to life. Come and see these beautiful works of art up close!

3. You’ll get to see someone die on stage. Well, sort of.

[Above: Rick Rescorla (Thomas Hampson) comforts a shot and dying Tom (Michael Sumuel) in Heart of a Soldier. Photo by Cory Weaver.]
Ever see someone get stabbed or shot on stage and wonder about the stage effects that make it happen? Or wonder just what it takes to change from one massive set piece to another, sometimes in mere minutes? Our marvelous Production and Props departments will demonstrate how we make stagecraft magic happen each and every night. Make sure to stay for a musical demonstration with our outstanding orchestra and chorus, who will be led by Music Director Nicola Luisotti in selections from Tosca and Lohengrin.

2. Got a burning question to ask General Director David Gockley? Now’s your chance.

[Photo by Terry McCarthy.]
Maybe you’ve wondered what kind of education and experience a person needs if they want to be the leader of an arts organization one day. Or you’ve been curious how we plan and cast for opera seasons, sometimes five years in advance! Our operatic CEO David Gockley will be on hand to answer your most burning questions.

1. It’s free, and a great way to wish San Francisco Opera a Happy 90th Birthday!

We are so proud to have been a part of the cultural fabric of the Bay Area for 90 years now, and we want to share what we do with the entire Bay Area community. Join us and celebrate our 90 years, and make sure to invite your friends and family. If you have never been to an opera before, or been inside the War Memorial Opera House, we would love to show you who we are and what we do! After all, it is free, and who doesn’t love a FREE event?

Posted: 11/6/2012 3:37:33 PM by San Francisco Opera
Filed under: 2012-13Season, children, chorus, conductor, costumes, DavidGockley, Lohengrin, MobyDick, orchestra, themagicflute, Tosca


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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