On Saturday November 10, San Francisco Opera opened the doors of the War Memorial Opera house and welcomed thousands of Bay Area residents and visitors to our first ever Community Open House! Presented in celebration of our 90th Season and the opening of the opera house 80 years ago, this completely free event was geared towards opera lovers and newbies of all ages. Activities ranged from crafts, temporary tattoos and sing-alongs to musical performances, technical demonstrations and screenings of Carmen for Families--The Movie! One of the most popular highlights of the day was the costume photo booth where guests were able to try on actual San Francisco Opera costumes and pose for photos taken by a professional photographer. From the moment lines began to form around the block in the morning to the moment the last person walked out the door, we were overwhelmed by the response from each and every one of you. Seeing every nook and cranny of this iconic building filled with smiling, energetic faces was truly a sight to behold! We think Gaetano Merola and the founders of San Francisco Opera would be thrilled to see all of you enjoying the fruits of their labors all these years later. All photos by Kristen Loken.


Posted: 12/11/2012 by San Francisco Opera


It is not surprising that many people assume Herman Melville wrote his classic novel Moby-Dick on Nantucket, a small island off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It is, after all, the setting for much of the book, home port to the Pequod and home to many of the story’s most central characters. But in reality, Melville never set foot on the island before Moby-Dick was published in 1851. He wrote the book at a secluded farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, over 100 miles from the nearest large body of water.

An excerpt from the Berkshire Historical Society explains:

Posted: 10/30/2012 by The Berkshire Historical Society


When I found out I was going to be the assistant conductor for Moby-Dick, I knew it meant that I was going to have to read the book. My attitude about that prospect was probably very much like yours. Sigh. But the choice was unflinching: Either I'm going to read Moby-Dick now, when I have every possible motivation and sufficient time, or I'm just never going to read it. Short of actually going on an extreme whaling vacation, I couldn't think of a more obvious circumstance to do something that I've long said I wanted to do. I'm happy I read it, and it made me feel more prepared, but it was unnecessary. Heggie's Moby-Dick does not need a primer to appreciate it, to explain it or even to fill in the blanks, it stands on its own as a thrilling and genuinely dramatic modern opera. But let's back up.

 

Posted: 10/22/2012 by Joseph Marcheso (Assistant Conductor, Moby-Dick)


Last Sunday, a few intrepid tweeters braved the (not so bad) traffic of one of the busiest weekends in San Francisco history to post their impressions of the final dress rehearsal of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby-Dick before tonight's Bay Area premiere.




Posted: 10/10/2012 by San Francisco Opera


In a stack of resumes, there are a handful of certain recurring words. Wrangler is not one of them. Maybe because cowboys never found a way to fuse their experience in the Great American West with corporate infrastructure or maybe because lassos have simply lost their practicality in an urban world. Either way, I am one of the few people who can claim this title. No, I am not a cowboy-  I am a Child Wrangler at San Francisco Opera. What does that mean exactly? It means I guide child performers on and off stage throughout rehearsals and performances at the opera. I have been in this position  for the past four seasons and have been held responsible for as few as four and as many as 40 children ranging from age 6 to 17. Some are seasoned veterans of the stage and some are complete novices. My job is to ensure their safety while they are in the building and, mostly, try to keep them focused, safe, and professional. Sometimes this is an easy task and sometimes, a nearly impossible one.

Posted: 06/29/2012 by Samantha McCurry (Child Wrangler)


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Introduction

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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