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!

The Breakfast Nook

At the end of a long day of rehearsals, I often sit and think to myself, “Where did I start this morning?” No, not at my apartment…today really got started in Act Two of Götterdämmerung. I call this scene the “Breakfast Nook,” which is as good a place as any to begin the day. This small scene takes place during Hagen's dream in which his father Alberich visits him and urges him to win back possession of the Ring from Siegfried. Hagen then wakes up and calls the vassals together for a double wedding of Brünnhilde to Gunther and Siegfried to Gutrune. [Left: Andrea Silvestrelli (Hagen)]



By Francesca Zambello (Director) on Friday, April 29, 2011

Ring of Fire

The late, great Johnny Cash utilized a unique trumpet fanfare as the musical introduction to his 1963 single, “Ring of Fire.”  The use of  mariachi brass throughout, set this song apart—at least as far as country music was concerned—and resulted in a blaze of glory (pardon the pun) as the song became an instant hit, and a classic one at that!  I always loved that song, but would hardly have believed that a “Ring of Fire” would have so many meanings for me later in life.


By David Cangelosi (Mime) on Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week Three of Rehearsals

It’s week three of Ring preparations and we have just about all of the cast members and production team here in San Francisco. Staging rehearsals are running six or seven days a week from morning to night. In a team effort between me, my trusted associate Christian, and the San Francisco Opera production staff (which includes everything from stage managers, music coaches, accompanists, prop masters, stagehands, assistant directors, etc., etc.), we are working our way through each opera. [Left: Christian Räth and Francesca share a late-night sushi strategy session]


By Francesca Zambello (Director) on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Third Norn

Heidi Melton is a former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow who has since been travelling the world singing everywhere from Bordeaux to Frankfurt to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She returns to SF Opera as the Third Norn in Götterdämmerung and Sieglinde in the June 29 performance of Die Walküre.
I came to the role of the Third Norn for the first time last spring when I was working at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.  The DOB is a well-oiled machine. They do upwards of 40 productions a year, most of which are repertory productions—which means that the Deutsche Oper owns the productions and that they have been in rotation there for many years.


By Heidi Melton (Third Norn & Sieglinde) on Monday, April 25, 2011

Rehearsals Have Begun

Although I have presented the first three operas of this Ring production previously in Washington, D.C. and the first two here in San Francisco, they each have to be reworked with new soloists and with a new conductor. Since so much of the Ring is driven by the performers, it has to be built around the unique personalities of the cast.
We just completed week two of preliminary staging and musical rehearsals. Every day from 10 a.m.–9 p.m. there are as many as five rehearsals going on at once in and around the opera house. Everyday my staff and I are working on a complex “battle plan” to get these four big operas on their feet.


By Francesca Zambello (Director) on Friday, April 22, 2011

Displaying results 26-30 (of 30)
 |<  <  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 >  >|
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