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ISSUE 2

SUMMER 2013

Experience the renaissance.

G E N E R AL D I R E C T O R D AV I D G O C K L E Y

Dear friends,

W

ON YOUR MARK,

get sets … GO!

elcome to the second installment of our CAMERATA newsletter!

Established in 2010, CAMERATA is

San Francisco Opera acquires its sets (i.e. scenic productions) in a number of ways:

REVIVE

a unique funding program that

1.

enables San Francisco Opera to

been kept in a container storage near Pier 96;

build on its storied history and

2.

ensure the future of world-class opera in our community.

As a valued member of CAMERATA, you help us take on projects and productions that define our international

We

We

DESIGN

our own productions, which have

and build our own new sets,

sometimes with the co-investment of other companies;

3.

We

CO-INVEST

in productions that are first

produced elsewhere; and

reputation, allowing us to stretch in ways that might not

4.

otherwise be possible. Without your support, events such as

As a company, we have many challenges to overcome in

our successful 90th Season Community Open House and the

order for a scenic production to work here. The War

world premiere of our first family opera commission, The

Memorial Opera House is a vintage theater dating back to

Secret Garden, might not have been possible.

the 1930s, and thus boasts very little in modern, labor-saving

READ ON

We

RENT

productions from other companies.

as I provide an insider’s glimpse into one of mechanics and technology. We also play in rep (“in

the major aspects of running an opera company like ours:

repertory”), meaning that we are constantly switching from

selecting productions that will work on the War Memorial

one opera to another for rehearsals and performances.

Opera House stage. Because of CAMERATA members,

Often we have four sets in the theater at once, all vying for

these choices are all the more exciting for the company

floor space, lighting positions, and fly space.

and for the future of opera. Thank you!

C O R Y WE AV E R / S AN F R AN C I S C O O P E R A

COSÌ FAN TUTTE Any production that comes into our Opera House must be designed, constructed, and/or adapted to work in this context. Even with optimal planning, San Francisco Opera remains one of the most expensive stages in the world on which to operate. The easiest productions for us to accommodate are revivals of our own productions. Our current Così fan tutte is an example of this. Così last played here in the 2004-05 season, and institutional memory of how it works is still fresh. The next easiest are those that we build here specifically to work in our conditions. This summer’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is such a production. As we have no coproducers, we only need to account for our own needs, including adhering to a modest budget of about $250,000. As you will soon see, it is a unit set, wherein a single major structure occupies the stage throughout the opera. A co-production originating here is, in many ways, the best situation, in that we control how a set is built and we have more money to spend, due to the contributions of the other companies. An example of this is the new Norma that will open the 2014-15 season. Our partners are the Teatro del Liceu (Barcelona), the Canadian Opera Company

(Toronto), and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Each company will contribute $200,000 - $250,000 into the pot; costumes are included in these numbers. The costs of shipping and any adaptations required by conditions in the other theaters must also be taken into account in the budget. Our current The Tales of Hoffmann is a co-production originating elsewhere, in this case, Barcelona. After us, it will go to Lyon. Having a production built in Europe has its advantages and disadvantages. Labor costs overseas are half of what ours are, which means that we get more for our money. However, the costs of long-distance containerized shipping can eat into this advantage. Barcelona is a stagione theater, meaning that only one opera is staged at a time. In this situation, we had to have a lot of say in how the production was designed and built so that we can handle it in rep. Barcelona was very sensitive to our needs, and the ease and efficiency of moving the Hoffmann sets is the result. There are instances where this has not always been the case. The recent The Capulets and the Montagues is a coproduction that originated in Munich, a rep house, but one with sophisticated machinery to move sets on and off the stage. They did not take all of our needs into account, and it wound up costing us.

B I L L C O O P E R / R O Y AL O P E R A H O U S E

“THE TROJANS is a gargantuan contraption that only four great companies can accomplish by pooling resources … Fortunately, it is a FABULOUS MONSTER, one that will wow everyone who attends it. - David Gockley

THE TROJANS The final source of sets is to rent them outright from other companies, as we are doing with Falstaff this year. Falstaff is owned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and we are renting it for $80,000, plus shipping. Renting productions has at least two advantages. The price is reasonable, so we retain more budgetary capacity to focus on the season’s new productions. Also, we can view them first and make certain that they work well, both technically and artistically. The Lyric (as Chicago is known) and San Francisco Opera have a lively reciprocal renting

Then, there is the massive The Trojans, a co-production which originated at London’s Royal Opera and will play at La Scala before landing on these shores in June 2015. It is a gargantuan contraption that only four great companies

history, which I trust will continue. I believe that maintaining a balance among these four sources of scenery will ensure a consistently excellent quality of scenic production, while not breaking the bank!

(Vienna is also involved) can accomplish by pooling

Your commitment makes this all possible. Thank you for

resources.

bringing CAMERATA to life!

The Royal Opera tried its best to keep the production in line, but the result is a monster! Fortunately, it is a fabulous monster, one that will wow everyone who attends it. Every so often, we just have to splurge!

David Gockley General Director

MEMBERS

are making history

Robert Mailer Anderson & Nicola Miner

Joseph D. Keegan, Ph.D.

Dr. & Mrs. Richard Rigg

Athena & Timothy Blackburn

Mr. Lawrence A. Kern

Betty & Jack Schafer

Mrs. John Maxwell Bryan

Ms. Karen J. Kubin

Robert & Laura Cory

Dr. & Mrs. John Lavorgna

Jan Shrem & Maria Manetti Shrem, Chairs, Amici di Nicola of Camerata

Valerie & Paul Crane Dorfman

Mrs. Edmund W. Littlefield*

Shirley Davis & Paul Sack

Greg & Liz Lutz

Mr. & Mrs. David T. Traitel, Founders, The Great Singers Fund of Camerata

Roberta & David Elliott

Jennifer Coslett MacCready

Tulsa and Simone Fund

Lisa Erdberg & Dennis Gibbons

The MacNaughton Family Foundation

Mary Van Voorhees, in memory of Gwin Follis

Ms. Kristina Flanagan

Mr. & Mrs. Burton J. McMurtry

Soo & Raj Venkatesan

Keith & Priscilla Geeslin

Mr. Steven M. Menzies

Barbara M. Ward & The Honorable Roy L. Wonder

Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund

Ms. Nancy S. Mueller & Mr. Robert A. Fox

Diane B. Wilsey

John A. & Cynthia Fry Gunn

Marina & Ben Nelson

Sharon & Clark Winslow

The Hellman Family Foundation

Peggy & Boyce Nute

Thomas F. & Barbara A. Wolfe

Leslie & George Hume

Hiro & Betty Ogawa

Anonymous (2)

Bruce W. Hyman & Simone M. QuarrĂŠ

Bernard & Barbro Osher

Mr. & Mrs. C. Bradford Jeffries

The Oshman Family Foundation

Franklin & Catherine Johnson

John* & Maria Pitcairn

Ms. Vivian M. Stephenson & Ms. Margarita Gandia

* Deceased

Experience the renaissance.

M U SI C D I R E C T OR N I C O L A L U I S O T T I SAN FRANCISCO OPERA War Memorial Opera House 301 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102 www.sfopera.com DAVID GOCKLEY General Director NICOLA LUISOTTI Music Director


Camerata Newsletter - Summer 2013