One of San Francisco Opera's favorite stage directors is Jose Maria Condemi. Along with being a frequent contributor to the San Francisco Opera stage, Jose Maria is also Artistic Director at Opera Santa Barbara and an advocate for young artists. This fall he directed Puccini's formidable "Tosca" staring not one, but two alternating casts in the production. Amid his busy schedule, Jose Maria took some time to answer our Five Questions. Take a read and see how one handles breathing new life into old productions, advice for young performances and where to get great BBQ in San Francisco.
Posted: 11/27/2012 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
How did you come to work on Moby-Dick and what was the early process?
We were getting ready to premiere Three Decembers
in Houston (2008) and very close to the end of the process when Jake and Gene approached me about Moby-Dick.
It was impossible for me to say no the challenge of staging Moby Dick, but even harder to pass up the opportunity to work with Jake and Gene again. Nothing had been written at that point, so I was part of the project from the very beginning and the three of us worked through it as a team.
I work on a lot of new pieces, and I’m often with them from the start. In this particular process with Moby-Dick
, we all found our way through this massive book together, looking at it from three distinct points of view: Gene the words, Jake the music, and me concentrating on the structure of the story.
Posted: 10/18/2012 by
Leonard Foglia (Director, Moby-Dick)
"I quite enjoy trying to understand the personality of the performer." –Harry Silverstein, Rigoletto
Posted: 09/24/2012 by
San Francisco Opera
While working on Bizet’s Carmen I found myself reflecting on the topic of “encounter with difference”—unlikely relationships that form between non-like-minded people—and pondering both the attraction and violence those experiences can generate. Both Carmen and Don José are members of marginalized minority populations in 19th-century Spain: she is a gypsy and he is a Basque.
Posted: 12/12/2011 by
Jose Maria Condemi (Director, Carmen)