In anticipation of San Francisco Opera’s new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), the Company presents Notes from Valhalla, a behind-the-scenes blog about the rehearsals and performances of Wagner’s greatest work. During the next two months, there will be frequent postings from the cast and company members providing insight into the creative process; offering up details about staging and musical rehearsals; sharing production and performance notes; and highlighting informative thoughts about particular Ring characters—as well as some light-hearted commentary. From high atop Valhalla, the mythical home of the gods, this is a unique opportunity to have a window into the world of the preparation and presentation of SF Opera’s new RingHo-jo-to-ho!

Ring Withdrawal

I am suffering Ring withdrawal! Coming to work and seeing an empty stage at the Opera House where just ten days ago Rhinemaidens cavorted, giants plodded and swords flashed leaves a huge void in my life. My career has always been about the curtain going up and audiences being enthralled. Now I have to wait two months for the Fall 2011 season to open with Turandot and Heart of a Soldier. But oh the recent memories! [Left: General Director David Gockley in front of an empty stage. Photo by Terrence McCarthy]


By David Gockley (General Director) on Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ring Symposia

In June the members of the Education Department were very excited to present three Ring symposia, one on each Tuesday of every Cycle. 
During the morning session of each symposium, lecturers Jonathan Khuner and Peter Susskind presented lively introductions to the story and characters of the Ring. After a break for lunch, Kip Cranna, San Francisco Opera’s Director of Music Administration, moderated a panel discussion with various experts. 


By San Francisco Opera Education Department on Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ring Cycle Cast Party

The cast, production team and crew for the Ring celebrated the end of the first cycle after this past Sunday's performance of Götterdämmerung.







By Photos by Kristen Loken on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mission Control

As a kid growing up near Houston, I got to tour NASA several times. On school trips we crawled around inside a lunar module, walked through the flight simulator, and even saw the actual mission control with its rows of desks and screens. I remembered all the movies I saw with the stressed out people running around and, of course, “Houston, we have a problem.” Little did I know that I would actually be in a similar situation as an adult. [Micah and his colleagues in the Media Suite. Photo by Cory Weaver]


By Micah Standley (Media Team Score Reader) on Friday, June 17, 2011

Ring Training

I have been a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra for 10 year and my first complete Ring cycle this summer is an experience that I will remember forever. My usual chair is Associate Concertmaster, and due to an unfortunate accident, Kay Stern, our Concertmaster, is unable to play the summer season. When I received the official call I’d be moving over to sit Concertmaster a week before rehearsals began, I was glad for the serious preparation I’d done. Below is an excerpt from my Laura’s Training on the Go fitness blog. I wrote this post well into Wagner preparation when I realized that my practicing had become my main physical workout each day.


By Laura Albers (Ring Cycle Concertmaster) on Tuesday, June 14, 2011

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Ring Withdrawal by David Gockley (General Director) July 12, 2011
Ring Symposia by San Francisco Opera Education Department July 7, 2011
Ring Cycle Cast Party by Photos by Kristen Loken June 22, 2011
Mission Control by Micah Standley (Media Team Score Reader) June 17, 2011
Ring Training by Laura Albers (Ring Cycle Concertmaster) June 14, 2011
Ring Statistics by San Francisco Opera June 10, 2011
Herding Cats by Linda Rodriguez (Senior Accountant and Supernumerary) June 8, 2011
A Journey Through the Fire by Paul Ziller (Production Super Captain and Graphic Designer) June 6, 2011
A Day in the Life of a Rehearsal Conductor by Sara Jobin (Assistant Conductor) June 2, 2011
Ring Cycle Artwork by Michael Schwab (Artist) May 31, 2011
Siegfried's Lens by Ian Storey (Siegfried) May 28, 2011
One Down, Three to Go by Francesca Zambello (Director) May 27, 2011
Sizzlin' Sitzprobe by David Cangelosi (Mime) May 26, 2011
It Takes a Village... by Christopher Verdosci (Assistant Costume Director) May 25, 2011
Rediscovering the Ring by Eric Weimer (Rehearsal Conductor) May 23, 2011
How I learned to stop worrying and love the Ring by Brian Jagde (Froh cover) May 20, 2011
Go Big by Going Small by Stacey Tappan (Woglinde & Forest Bird) May 18, 2011
"Props...That's My Job" by David Cangelosi ( Mime) May 16, 2011
Exiled by Elise Sandell (Assisant Director, Götterdämmerung) May 13, 2011
Let's Get Physical by Lawrence Pech (Choreographer) May 11, 2011
The Running Rhinemaiden by Lauren McNeese (Wellgunde and Rossweisse) May 9, 2011
Always a Bridesmaid...and Finally a Bride by Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried) May 6, 2011
Return to SF, in Boots by Daniel Sumegi (Fafner and Hunding) May 5, 2011
Character Inspiration by Francesca Zambello (Director) May 4, 2011
One Woman, Many Costumes by Daveda Karanas (Waltraute, Second Norn & Fricka cover) May 2, 2011
The Breakfast Nook by Francesca Zambello (Director) April 29, 2011
Ring of Fire by David Cangelosi (Mime) April 28, 2011
Week Three of Rehearsals by Francesca Zambello (Director) April 27, 2011
The Third Norn by Heidi Melton (Third Norn & Sieglinde) April 25, 2011
Rehearsals Have Begun by Francesca Zambello (Director) April 22, 2011