30. June 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Opera, Photos

Dan and I were up in San Francisco for the past few days, enjoying both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. Today is a break, and we go back to see and hear Siegfried Friday night, and we finish it off with Götterdämmerung on Sunday. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the San Francisco Opera production. The singers are great … and that orchestra! They sound fantastic. I had heard a bit of grumbling via the web, although I’ve attempted to avoid all reviews. I sure have nothing to complain about.

I can’t imagine playing these operas! The first is “only” 2 /12 hours … with NO intermission! From then on you are talkin four or more hours. The singers do all of this by memory (with the help of a prompter, whom they readily thank when taking bows). I really don’t know how they do it! But then I haven’t a clue how singers do what they do, being a person of very little voice.

And then there’s the orchestra. The majority of them sit through every single act. (A few don’t play every act, and some do have the ability to come in and out of the pit.) Concentration has to remain incredibly high. As tired as they might be, they can’t step out for a breath of fresh air. They can’t stand and stretch if they need a moment to do that. They just work. And work. And work. And they sound incredible! Bravi tutti, and especially, of course, to the oboe section! (Sure, I’m a little biased.)

And to think we call it playing! Go figure.

In preparation for the Ring Cycle I have been watching a different production. I now feel as if I have WagnerBrain™. I suspect it is going to take some time to recover!

Prior to the first opera Dan and I met up with some other “tweets” (other opera attendees who are on twitter). It was pretty darn fun to see these people I knew by their twitter names. (Granted, I’d met a few before.) Dan had his camera so I’m going to guess he’ll have some nice photos. I just shot with my iPhone, so mine aren’t fab, but here are a few, giving you their twitternames if I have them:

@operatattler has dressed in costume for each performance, I believe! She is here with @mr_skot and @nffo

@operaAnt and @operaskank

A group photo … I’ll put up twitternames I have, but I am missing some … @Herzeleide, @operaskank’s wife Ann (Bob, does she have a twitter account?), @mlaffs, @gdanmitchell

@domb_opera, @dredbeveridge, @mlaffs (sorry about the eyes there … I’m not a great photographer, as you can see!)

After getting together Tuesday night we’ve been named (I think by Maura … @mlaffs, that is) #operaposse.

Sort of makes me feel sort of powerful. Or something.

Update/Correction
Oops! It’s #ringposse … that’s sort of double powerful, you know? ;-) (And thanks, @joncaves!)

2 Comments

  1. How do opera pit orchestras get around union laws? Seems like 2.5 hrs of nonstop playing has to break some kind of union regulation.

  2. I’m going to guess there are clauses in a contract about this, Cooper. The opera company I’m with would never be able to do the Ring, so we don’t have to deal with that. I’ll have to see if I remember to ask friends who are in the SFOpera.