Backstage at San Francisco Opera > September 2012 > It's Opening Night and there are Thousands of Flowers
It's Opening Night and there are Thousands of Flowers
Everyone knows that the opening night Opera Ball is a glamorous event full of flowers,  decorations, food, libations and of course, fashion! But there are many who attend the opening night performance alone, without attending one of the galas--and we wouldn't want them to miss out on the glamor! Every year, Opening Weekend Grand Sponsor Diane B. Wilsey donates a beautiful, hand crafted and unique flower garland to adorn the boxes of the War Memorial Opera House. To most of us, the flowers seem to simply appear on opening night to add a colorful, whimsical decorative element to the special evening...but we knew there was more to it than that. This time, we decided to find out a little bit more about the people and process behind the opening night flower garland. And boy, did we learn a lot!

Say cheese! This photo, taken from the stage of the opera house on Opening Night 2012, shows the entire opening night audience as well as the flower garland, which encircles the room hanging from the boxes. Photo by Drew Altizer.

The flower garland is designed and created by Stanlee R. Gatti Designs here in San Francisco.

This year's design included three colors of Ecuadorian carnations: red, hot pink and yellow.

The entire design called for over 50,000 blooms!

Twenty people built the framework, picked the flowers, assembled the garland and hung the final product at the War Memorial Opera House over the course of one week.

At 6 a.m. on Friday morning, September 7, the garland was hung and stood at the ready until audiences began streaming in at 7 p.m.

[All photos courtesy of Stanlee R. Gatti Desigs unless otherwise noted.]
Posted: 9/12/2012 1:53:55 PM by San Francisco Opera
Filed under: 2012-13Season, design, donor, OpeningNight


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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