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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 Statistics

For an opera company, producing Wagner’s Ring cycle is a feat worthy of those found in Greek mythology. Here’s a brief look at what it takes at San Francisco Opera:
 
Total number of people involved on stage / in the pit = 415
( 1 conductor + 1 director + 5 designers + 1 choreographer + 30 singers + 94 orchestra + 76 chorus + 52 supers + 115 crew + 30 music and production staff + 10 studio teachers and wranglers (not counting administrative staff, volunteers, ushers, box office staff, etc.)
 
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By San Francisco Opera on Friday, June 10, 2011

Herding Cats

By day, most people at San Francisco Opera know me as one of our senior accountants. For six years, I’ve processed the accounts payable invoices for the Company, among many other financial projects. Basically that means I pay the bills.
 
But by (the occasional) night, I am a supernumerary—a non-singing “extra” on the operatic stage. I’ve been a super on our past productions of Boris Godunov and Le Nozze di Figaro—I’ve even recruited my mother as a super—but I first began doing this back in 2008 for our production of Das Rheingold.
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By Linda Rodriguez (Senior Accountant and Supernumerary) on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Journey Through the Fire

When the audition notice was posted seeking 11 male Supernumeraries for Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung, I heeded the call of my Wagnerian destiny (cue Schicksalsfrage', the fate leitmotif). Hang up my singing and dancing for a time to be a voiceless, nameless "extra"? You bet! My Ring journey comes full circle this month.
 
 
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By Paul Ziller (Production Super Captain and Graphic Designer) on Monday, June 6, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Rehearsal Conductor

Tonight I got to conduct some of the most beautiful music ever written (the Immolation Scene at the end of Götterdämmerung) with one of the world's most amazing sopranos on stage, Nina Stemme, and one of the best pianists in the business, Bryndon Hassman, in the pit.  Pinch me.  Who knew, when I begged my stepfather to let me join his church choir when I was seven, that it would lead to this?  Then I rode my old-fashioned girl's bicycle home in the cool San Francisco night.  I feel lucky.
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By Sara Jobin (Assistant Conductor) on Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ring Cycle Artwork

Renowned Bay Area graphic artist Michael Schwab has created award winning images,
posters and logos for numerous clients, including Robert Mondavi, Turner Classic
Movies, Amtrak, Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid, Robert Redford’s Sundance, the 2002 Winter Olympics, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. In 1992, he collaborated with San Francisco Opera on the Company’s poster for Boris Godunov. We asked him a few questions about his commission for this year’s Ring cycle.
 
[Left: Michael Schwab photographs Adler Fello Maya Lahyani dressed as Brünnhilde]
 
 
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By Michael Schwab (Artist) on Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Displaying results 6-10 (of 30)
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Archive
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