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
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:
a unique funding program that
enables San Francisco Opera to
been kept in a container storage near Pier 96;
build on its storied history and
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
our own productions, which have
and build our own new sets,
sometimes with the co-investment of other companies;
in productions that are first
produced elsewhere; and
reputation, allowing us to stretch in ways that might not
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
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
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
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
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
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
San Francisco Opera