The OOVE: A Brand New Instrument

Do you know what an OOVE is? We didn’t either. That is until we met with composer Nathaniel Stookey who told us about this brand new instrument that inspired his new piece called YTTE (Yield To Total Elation). The OOVE was made by a friend of his, Oliver DiCicco who has a workshop in San Francisco. Oliver specializes in kinetic sound sculptures that create a mixture of unique tones and vibrations. Lucky for us, we got to visit his local studio and see his other creations like these “Sirens” that create such an eerie sound but are so mesmerizing to watch.

(Click to PLAY the video and see for yourself!)


 Shortly after Nathaniel saw Oliver’s instruments, the San Francisco Symphony commissioned him to write a new piece for their SoundBox series (which I HIGHLY recommend). He immediately knew this was going to be something extraordinary.

The OOVE makes a low vibration sound which he used as the foundation of YTTE. The piece opens with a low hummmm and slowly an evolution of sound is created as the strings and the winds join in. Your mind is taken on a beautiful journey filled with emotion and movement throughout the entire piece. It’s calming and mysterious and then you suddenly feel like you’ve arrived into a grand galaxy that’s driven by brass, the bass drum, and pulses from the winds. Nathaniel said, “…for me, yielding to total elation during a piece of music is the ideal. It’s why I do what I do.”

To play the OOVE, the instrument is not bowed or plucked. In fact, it’s hardly ever touched! You approach it with an electromagnet. As the electromagnet gets closer to the field created by the nodes, it reacts by vibrating the strings. The vibrations get larger and larger the closer the node gets to the magnet while also creating additional layers of frequencies.

After hearing Nathaniel’s YTTE at the San Francisco Symphony’s groundbreaking Soundbox, Donato Cabrera and the Las Vegas Philharmonic commissioned a full orchestra version, which premiered earlier this year. If you didn’t get to see either of these amazing performances, you’re in luck! On September 24th YTTE for full orchestra is making its West Coast debut at California Symphony’s Season Opener.


Check out our exclusive interview with both Donato and Nathaniel about the OOVE, their road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas and more about their story behind their West Coast Premiere… with a surprise at the end!! 

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You can purchase tickets to see this modern-day masterpiece by clicking HERE!
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Myles Thatcher’s World Premiere​ of Ghost in the Machine

Don’t you hate when someone around you is having a bad day and before you know it your good vibes have been squashed? You did nothing wrong to this person but they treat your poorly because of their previous situation and now that negative energy has now been rubbed off onto you. Or have you ever walked into a job interview and the culture there is so positive that you can’t help but walk out with a happy feeling?

We are often a by-product of the people that surround us and this subconsciously happens through an unseen and ghost-like stream of energy. Myles Thatcher’s World Premiere of Ghost in the Machine portrays this energetical chain reaction through a series of dances and I was lucky enough to grab him for an interview before his next performance. Scroll below to find out more about Myles and his inspiration behind this modern-day masterpiece.

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When did you first start dancing?

I started dancing when I was 8 when I was auditioning for a musical play at my school. After the audition, the teacher put her hand on my head and said, “Who does this kid belong to?? He has talent! Go put him in dance class.” So my mom signed me up and as time went on, I started to really fall in love with it. By thirteen, I knew I wanted to pursue it as a career.

When did you start choreographing and who gave you your first opportunity to showcase your own work?

Many times after dance class, a friend and I would stay and come up with our own dances. I always loved exploring new ideas and seeing what came from it. When I was in the SF Ballet’s training program, they had a choreography workshop and Helgi Tomasson (SF Ballet’s Artistic Director/Principal Choreographer) saw something in me. Ever since then he has been a great mentor and he gave me my first opportunity to premiere my own work at SF Ballet’s Gala in 2013.

How do you capture your ideas and create a new choreography? 

I write some of my thoughts into a notebook but the overall visions of what I want is in my head. One of the first things I do is learn the ins and outs of the music I select and think about how I want to structure my work around it.  Then I meet with the dancers in the studio and this is where the fun begins! You can only prepare so much beforehand because everything mostly happens in real-time with the dancers. I love working with the dancers here at SF Ballet because they are so open and willing to try new things with me. That’s not the case and I am grateful and humbled to work with them.

Why did you name it Ghost in the Machine?

After I created the piece I decided to name it after a book I read called Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler. This philosophical book is about how an individual’s action can alter the energy of another person or the overall dynamic of a larger group. Like a ghost, you can’t see this chain reaction but the transformation is apparent in the outcome. I think it’s so important to realize that an individual has the power stop a chain reaction of negativity and start and transformation of love. Through a series of dances, I wanted to show how this ghost-like effect (both negative and positive) can happen in relationships, communities and within an individual.

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How long did it take to create this work with the dancers?

We started working on it in September of 2016 for about 3 weeks and then we didn’t touch it again until 2 weeks before the premiere. I like this method because we get a bulk of it done up front, step away from it and then revisit it with a fresh approach. What’s difficult about a premiere is that it doesn’t all come together until it’s revealed to the public. The ballet was just finalized the morning of the performance! But the piece will continue to evolve and I love that.

What is your favorite subtlety that the audience should look out for?

When the two characters sit on the edge of the stage next to the walls, the dancing that’s happening with the group at center stage symbolizes the wedge in whatever is distancing them in their relationship. It’s unexpected and I think it came together nicely.  There a lot of small vignettes like that for people can find.  My goal as a choreographer is to create a ballet that you want to go and see again and that you’ll find new things that resonate with.

What piece of advice would you give to someone that is pursuing a career as a choreographer?

Stay humble and respectful. The more integrity you have in your process the more integrity your art will have. And the hardest piece of advice is to be true to yourself and listen to your intuition.

Fire Round!!

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What show are you watching right now?

I just finished Big Little Lies and I loved it!

Where is your favorite place to go dancing for fun?

There’s this place in the Mission called Amnesia and they have a gypsy jazz night and a swing dancing night. It’s so much fun!

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of being amazing at the SF Ballet?

I like making cocktails with friends and I like doing fun costume makeup. Check it out on my Instagram!

What’s the last song that was stuck that in your head?

Other than Swan Lake? I would say anything by Robyn!

What is the top thing to do on your Bucket List right now?

I really want to see Aurora Borealis in Northern Canada or Alaska. That’s like a major life goal.

What is your favorite thing to do after a performance?

Drink a beer!

If you could have lunch with someone from the past, present or future, who would it be with?

Jane Goodall, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Forsythe and Chrystal Pite

What is your favorite color to paint your nails?

Silver to black ombre or solid gold glitter!

Where is your favorite place to shop?

Spectre and Co., Sean’s and fun consignment stores.

Who is your favorite celebrity dancer?

Wendy Whelan for live performances and Debbie Reynolds from the movies.

Click here to get tickets to see Myles Thatcher’s Ghost in the Machine!

San Francisco Ballet Interview with Dores André

After watching the stunning performance of Dores André in the San Francisco Ballet World Premiere of ‘Salome’, I just had to learn more about her and her leading role. So while she was in the middle of taking off her makeup and getting ready for the next performance, I had the chance to do an over-the-phone interview with her. When you meet her off-stage, it’s no surprise that’s she speaks and acts as elegantly as she dances. She’s easy to talk to and she has the best laugh! Did you know she loves to swim and her favorite part of Salome is when she blows out the candle of her birthday cake? Scroll down to learn more!

Fun Facts

Dores André’s red  Valentino-inspired dress has mesh over the opening of her back so that the dancers’ hands won’t get caught in it.

The “blood” on John’s beheaded …head was made out of cherry marmalade with a bit of food coloring it. Tasty!

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The confetti poppers still scare Dores every time they go off.

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About the Role

How long did you rehearse for this role?

We started practicing back in the summer and then we rehearsed it again in December. A week ago when we picked it back up to get it performance ready, Mathilde Froustey, who actually was the first cast for this role, got injured and I (as the second cast) then took on the role.  Looking back on it, it’s crazy how fast everything came together!

How do you rehearse privately without a pianist or orchestra?

This one was different because the composer was with us most of the time, which is very rare. He had the computer version of the piece and he would even cut things or change music so then the choreography would change. It was fascinating to work so closely with a composer. It felt like old times, like Ballets Russes where Stravinsky was there and the art constantly changed. What a privilege! We settled on the final choreography a day before the performance. (WOW!!!) And it’s still not set in stone! It might be a little bit different the next performance.

What do you like most about the Salome story?

I love the complexity in the way that Arthur Pita portrayed this biblical story; that good and bad are not always extremes. People who are good can be bad and people who are bad can be good. You may do things that are normal to you but it may not be perceived the same way by another person from a different environment. It’s all about your perspective and lack of perspective. Salome thought she was doing a good/normal thing but to John it was repulsive and she didn’t understand his reaction. Unfortunately, she chose to only see it her way and her perspective didn’t change.

What was your favorite part to perform?

I really enjoyed the blowing the cake before the first confetti. At this point, people don’t really know what’s happening yet and it felt like everyone was watching intently to see what’s happens next. You can absolutely feel it from the audience. That’s another reason why I love performing new works. I love that I had the audience captive.

How did you feel when you were in the center of the stage, the spotlight was on you and confetti was coming down from the sky? Was it surreal? 

Honestly, confetti is the best thing in the world! If I was very very rich, I would have a massive house, every room would blow gold confetti at all times. It makes you feel like there is magic all around you. To me, the confetti amplified the darkness of the story because it’s almost eerie that there is confetti at such dark moments. I love the contrast!

What is your favorite type of ballet?

I like working on new works. I think that process is my strength. I love to take on a new role, coming up with new steps and collaborating with the choreographer is what I love. To me, that’s what it means to be an artist; taking a new role and making it your own. If we don’t make new things, we won’t have masterpieces of this decade to remember.

What are excited on next?

Miles’ new piece because the music is so beautiful and I love working with him. He makes dancer’s lives very easy because he’s so professional. It’s a pleasure to work with him.

10 Question Fire Round!

1. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?

Antartica

2. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?

I started playing the piano when I was a kid and I wish I had stuck with it.

3. What is your favorite go-to-place in Hayes Valley?

Project Juice! I go there every day.

4. What music do you have on repeat right now?

I just rediscovered Bruce Springsteen and I love him so much.

5. What is your least favorite type of music?

Really bad pop music… Because it’s just so terrible.

6. What is your favorite workout routine at the gym?

I don’t do the gym that much but I love to swim. It’s therapeutic, it burns calories and it gets your heart rate up.

7. What Netflix are you watching right now?

Abstract: The Art of Design. It’s sooooo good!

8. What is your favorite hobby outside of dance?

I love crafting, sewing and painting. If we had more time, I think it would be really cool to design my own costume one day.

9. What is your favorite thing to eat before a performance?

A smoothie from Project Juice! My favorite flavor is Marina Greens.

10. What is one piece of advice that you would give to an upcoming ballet dancer?

No matter what, always mentally show up and give it 100% of your effort. Even on a bad day when you don’t feel like it or you don’t think you’re worth it – show up. Only good things will come from it!

Click here to see Dores André perform Salome!

Click here to see more of my interviews with other San Francisco local artists.

SF Ballet World Premiere​ of ‘Salome’

This season I grabbed my seats for the World Premiere of Salome at the San Francisco Ballet. I was first drawn to this performance because of the fabulous photo of Dores André in a stunning dress who is stepping out of a limo (blindfolded!) with confetti coming from the sky! I thought, ” Hmmm… I haven’t seen this type of imagery from the ballet before… I need to check it out.” Wow, I’m glad I did!

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In the first scene of the performance, a limo drives on stage like a haunted carriage (what is happening??) and “secret service” men get out to scope out this mysterious place that seems to be in the middle of no-where. Then, an older man gets out of the car who looks like Roger Sterling from Mad Men. He lights his cigarette and reaches in the car to escort out his high-class wife who is wearing a green silk dress from the 1930’s. So naturally, you start to think the setting is dated to a historical time. But then out came the blindfolded Dores André, dressed in a modern day bright red Valentino-inspired dress that ‘wowed’ the audience immediately. She is revealed a birthday cake and a ritual potion that’s in a fancy goblet and BOOM! confetti goes everywhere.

Errrrr!!! So let me back up to give you some context about how this new piece came about. Arthur Pita (the choreographer) was inspired to create his own version of the story about “Salome”. Salome was the step-daughter of Herald in the Bible (to be precise, it was actually his niece because he married his brother’s wife. #familydrama). The story goes that Salome danced for her step-father’s birthday and she pleased him very much. So much so, that he said, Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” (Mark 6:22-23).  Salome didn’t know how to respond so she went over to her mother (Herodias) and asked what she should request. Herodias wanted John the Baptist dead because John said the marriage with her brother-in-law was ungodly. So she whispered her summon in Salome’s ear and before you know it, she was served John the Baptist’s head on a platter. Pretty gruesome, huh?

Pita wanted to bring this biblical story into modern day times. So he tossed aside the long brown robes and staffs and asked “How would the story exist now? Where would these people be?” To make this story evergreen, he chose to mix time periods with props and fashion. That’s why Salome’s parents are wearing 1930’s attire yet Salome is wearing modern-day clothing.

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The limo that I mentioned was used to represent power and money because naturally when you see one of these cars, you think “Wow, there must be someone important inside”. Out comes this well-dressed family. Pita actually flipped the story around a bit and made it Salome’s birthday instead of her step-father’s. And instead of using Oscar Wilde’s seven veil strip tease, he transformed it into seven hostages who must dance in competition to be Salome’s mate. This twisted tale unfolds with heavy dances, dark music, and cannons of confetti. The mother stands up from her watching quarters and marks John as the future mate of Salome, which John does not want.

I kid you not, Dores André (Salome) and Aaron Robison (John) was OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD! They were the perfect cast for this performance. Their passion infused these characters into life and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. He was covered with slashes and scars by “being held hostage” and she was beautifully dressed in red, hypnotized by the potion that was given to her. As she’s trying to seduce him, he pushes back not wanting to be a part of her charade. Their movements with one another were abrasive, powerful and impulsive. You felt like you are watching Rite of Spring mixed with a wrestling match. We were on the fourth row and I could see their sweat being flung across the stage and their ribs gasping for air. Aaron is probably one of the most muscular dancers I have ever seen throwing his body about on the stage in the way he did. His character was believable and you couldn’t help but physically feel the anguish that he was suffering. And lucky for us, he was matched with Dores’s authoritative air and powerful presence. In my book, their chemistry as equal antagonists is unmatched.

After the Father sees this isn’t going as planned, he signals his secret service to finish John off. They take him away and the mother returns with his head on a silver platter underneath a black veil. (Some birthday present.) Salome is left alone questioning if she should peek underneath to see the repercussions of her “celebration” gone wrong. She finally does and in a sick way, instead of being panicked, she kisses him and tastes his blood. And without any hesitation, she picks up his head by the hair and carries it to the limo with tissue hanging out from his neck. As soon as the door is closed, the family goes off on their way as if nothing happened…

Walking away from this premier, I was touched by how raw and yet how beautiful this performance was. It made me reflect on wicked people with power. How they are truly able to behead the future of the non-conformists without hesitation and then be on their way. I’ve been around people like this before and I’m sure you have too. But don’t worry, most of the time they are blindfolded with a filter of perceptions and their only hope lies within the facade that they portray.

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Backstage photo of Dores André, Yann Seabra, Arthur Pita and Aaron Robison

This performance is a San Francisco Ballet-original must-see! But you have to hurry and grab your seats because it will be on stage until March 19th. Click here to find tickets!

 

5 Reasons Why SF Opera Lab Should be on Your Bucket List this Spring

Last year, the San Francisco Opera started a new series called SF Opera Lab. Why is it called “Lab”? Because the Taube Atrium Theater (in the Veterans building) was created to experiment and make new music in unique and innovative ways. If you went last year, you probably fell in love with its intimate setting, outstanding acoustics, new operatic works and cup holders for your favorite glass of wine or cocktail! This casual environment makes it fun for a newcomer and fresh for a regular opera-goer.

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Recently I had the opportunity to take an exclusive tour of the venue with Sean Waugh, the Artistic Planning Manager who helps oversee this exciting new series. During our walk-through, I discovered hidden gems around the venue and got the inside scoop on the second season of concerts. Scroll below to see five reasons why you should put this unique experience on your Bucket List this spring.

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1) The SF Opera Lab Stage is ever-changing. This theater is truly unique because the audience is placed in different configurations that are built around each experiential performance. One night there will be risers that will look down on the stage and the next there will be chairs (and even tables!) around a circular stage that’s placed in the middle of the room. No experience is the same!

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2) This theater has historical landmarks at every turn. In 1935, SFMoma began its legacy in this great space where they housed the first west coast collection that was solely made up of modern and contemporary art. This room use to be SFMoma’s Sculpture Garden and if you look around the rim of the theater, you’ll see the original engravings of artists’ names in every corner. There are also other historical landmarks that are found around the building. Like the murals on the second floor that were brought from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915.

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3) The four gray walls of the theater turn into vibrant projection screens. One of my favorite concerts last year was watching the Academy Award-nominated film, Les Triplets de Belleville. The music was stripped away and a live ensemble (with singers!) performed along to the animations that were projected in front of us. These visual highlights bring movement to every piece and the audience is taken on a musical journey through color and an array of settings.

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4) An archives gallery surrounds the theater. On the outside walls of the venue there is a photo gallery of San Francisco Opera’s most memorable moments. My favorite is a snapshot of their first performance that dates back to 1923. In October I had the honor of touring this gallery with Christopher Verdosci who worked with the company for fifteen years as their Assistant Costume Director. Click here to see more!

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5) This experience even pops up outside of the theater and around the city! The SF Opera Lab Pop-Ups happen in places (AKA: bars and clubs) where you would never expect to see opera. Last year they held performances at Public Works SF, The Chapel, and even Oasis! From incredible arias to duets and love songs, these casually dressed performers sang passionately with one hand while holding a cocktail in the other. Click here to read more.

The SF Opera Lab series is made up of 4 different concerts and will run from February 24 – April 27th. Personally, I’m excited for the ChamberWorks Concert that will feature the musicians of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and The Source that is supposed to be very interactive and set in a unique arrangement for the audience.

Other Fun Facts:

  • Ticket prices start at $25!
  • The incredible Meyer Sound Constellation is run by a simple iPad
  • The first concert of the season, The Source is about Wikileaks and what Channing Manning exposed in 2010
  • There are 299 seats in the standard set-up, making every seat a GOOD seat
  • The next SF Opera Lab Pop-Up will be announced very soon…
  • The Taube Atrium Theater is located on the fourth floor of the Veteran’s Building
  • Roomful of Teeth is a West Coast premiere of four new works based on Shakespeare

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I hope to see you at one of the concerts! Make sure to follow my adventures on Instagram and like my blog to receive updates about new posts.

Opera Hair and Makeup Tutorial

It’s all in the details! I’m not talking about the thousands of notes that go into every opera production. I’m talking about all the work that goes into styling each performer to make their character believable and help make their story come to life. This summer the San Francisco Opera is presenting La Bohème and I got to go backstage in the dressing rooms and get a tutorial on Mimi’s hair and makeup with expert stylists, Jeanna Parham and Ashley Joyce.

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To give you a background on Mimi’s story; she is a seamstress who lives next door to the main character in La Bohème, Rodolfo who is a poet. When she knocks on his door and asks for him to light her candle, they instantly fall in love – love at first sight!

(You may be familiar with the Broadway hit RENT!! Yes, this is the original Rent and the inspiration behind the famous song “Light My Candle“.)

Mimi is sick with tuberculosis. The two are very poor and can not afford medicine so her sickness becomes worse as the story continues. Rodolfo feels so guilty about not being able to provide her with the proper medicine that he leaves her out of fake jealousy so that she will find a wealthier suitor. Will they end up back together? Will she live? Well, my friend, that is for me to know and for you to find out at the San Francisco Opera this summer.

Now on to the tutorial…

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When I walked in the door of the dressing rooms, I was greeted with a full spread of makeup brushes, lipsticks, rouges, and eyeshadows. A lot of their products were from MAC – a personal favorite! I was surprised to find out that the San Francisco Opera stylists personalize makeup kits for every singer and chorus member, even the men. That’s a lot of makeup!

They started off the transformation by pinning up my hair in tiny pin-curls and then putting a net over my hair to keep it out of my face. Next, they began to do a base layer with a primer and powders to shape my face and get “the canvas” ready for all the colors!

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The most expressive parts of the face are the eyes and the mouth, so to emphasize the drama and the character’s mood they highlight these features with shadows and liners. The way the artists looks in the dressing room is different from how they look under the stage lights so Ashely and Jeanna watch the dress rehearsals to make sure each performers makeup and wig are accentuated from the audiences’ point of view.

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With dark crease lines on my eyelids, filled in eyebrows and eyelash extensions, my eyes were starting to POP! To continue this bold look, Ashely lined my lips with a darker lip liner so that my mouth would be easily seen, even from the balcony. She then filled in my lip color with a lighter tone to create contrast. Lip gloss is not typically used in opera because it reflects too much light from the stage and is not appropriate for La Bohème’s time period.

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To finish off the look, they revealed this fabulous wig (made by Jeanna) that was hand tied with real hair. I was shocked to hear that each wig takes up to forty to sixty hours to make! That’s two and a half FULL days of work… for ONE wig. Nuts. When they placed the wig on my head, the complete vision of Mimi came to life. To keep the wig from coming off, they used bobby pins to secure the wig onto my pin-curls. Sometimes, performers will even wear a mic that’s tucked in their wig that can hardly be seen at the top of forehead.

I had so much fun becoming Mimi and being styled by the expert stylists Ashely and Jeanna. If you’d like to watch the full transformation that was entirely filmed on Facebook Live, click here!

To see some more of my backstage experiences, click here. To claim your tickets to San Francisco Opera’s summer performance of La Bohème, click here.

The Fashion of Opera

Fashion doesn’t just live in the stores. It exists on the stage! One of the many reasons I love going to the opera is living vicariously through the characters and admiring the costumes that depict the fashion of various time periods. This week I joined San Francisco Opera for an exclusive Facebook Live tour with the talented Assistant Costume Director, Christopher Verdosci!

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The San Francisco Opera is celebrating their 50th Anniversary for the U.S. Premiere of The Makropolous Case. This erotic drama is about the alluring prima donna, Emilia Marty that is played by the beautiful Nadja Michael. Her character wears stunning dresses and gowns throughout the entire performance. My eye was drawn to a vintage gown she wears in Act Il.

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Seeing the costume up close with Christopher was a moment I’ll never forget because he revealed the inspiration of the design from the archives! This French painting of a pierrot gave Emilia Marty’s emotions a whole new meaning to me. The Director gave her this costume to represent a sad metaphor of her feelings that made me want to break out singing, Send in the Clowns. She was just going through the motions as an avatar, trying to find her purpose after living so many lifetimes, aging at 337 years old (think The Picture of Dorian Gray!).

For quick changes, the costume has snaps behind the decorative handmade buttons and the ruffles are tailored with multiple layers to give it that poof at the ends.  I was amused to find out that her fabulous sparkling hat was actually made from the whimsy designer Betsy Johnson!

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In the performance she wears a selection of shoes and because I am such a shoe lover, I had to find out more about these stunning pumps. In the 1950’s, ultra thin heels that were 4 inch high was all the rage. These white satin pumps were designed by Badgley Mishka who has been hailed by Vogue as one of the “Top 10 American Designers”!

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The jewelry was treated to look like recreations of Cartier because it was customary to have inherited jewels reset into a fashionable piece for the new decade. Who knew!

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It was such a treat to spend the afternoon with Christopher in the costume shop. Christopher has worked at the San Francisco Opera for sixteen years. Christopher earned his degree in Design at International Fine Arts College in Miami. His incredible work has been seen in many theaters throughout San Francisco, including The Brava, Intersection for the Arts, Theater Artaud, The Victoria and ODC.

To find out more about Emilia Marty’s timeless attire, click here. Now that you know all about the costumes, it’s time to head to the San Francisco Opera to see The Makropolous Case! Click here for tickets.

Photography by Trisha Leeper

A Night to Remember – The SF Opera BRAVO! CLUB Gala

This year I had the honor to co-chair the San Francisco Opera BRAVO! CLUB Gala. BRAVO! CLUB is a community for young professionals from ages 21-40 to discover, learn, enjoy and support the San Francisco Opera. This year I wanted our guests to walk away with one of the best memories they’ve had at the opera and I think we achieved it!

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The evening started off with a walk on the red carpet! This year I decided to go all out by wearing a custom made gown by JAKE, a local San Francisco clothing brand that specializes in classic/modern styles with a defiant twist. I honestly wish I could wear this gown every day! To see how it was made, click here.

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Before the performance BRAVO! CLUB guests gathered at the outdoor terrace for a glass of wine or champagne along with bites from Patina. We served truffle popcorn, vegetable skewers, and meatballs.

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The opening night performance of the season was Andrea Chenier, a passionate tale of liberty and love in the French Revolution. To carry out the french theme into the after party, we decided to decorate with pastel colors and french decor in the Green Room, next door to the opera house. The venue was filled with chic lounge furniture, modern decorations, and tons of chandeliers. Scroll down to see some of my favorite video clips of the evening…!

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There were tables and tables of french food and desserts along with a cigar and whiskey lounge that offered complimentary hand rolled cigars. Did I mention they had custom San Francisco Opera labels on them??

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The room was filled with 300 young professionals that share the same passion and love for opera in the Bay Area. Our DJ turned the tables while he played the trumpet and the drinks and laughter kept pouring all night long. You couldn’t help but take a look around you and say “this is a night I’ll never forget”.

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To find out more about the San Francisco Opera BRAVO! CLUB, click here.

To find tickets to the San Francisco Opera, click here.

Photos by Jade Studio Productions

What You Don’t See at the SF Opera

Red Curtain Addict

Going to the opera is such a lavish event. The lights, the set, the costumes, the music…  It really is quite the experience. But what’s often overlooked is the crew, technicians and musicians working like crazy behind the scenes so these productions are seamless for your experience. So I thought I’d get a little more insight into what really goes on behind the curtain.

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Recently, I took a backstage tour with the Stage Manager, John who drives this huge “ship” making sure that every light is cued, every rope is pulled and every artist is in place for the show to go on. The cool part was, his father was the Stage Manager before him. Since John was a boy, he learned a ton of secrets about this stage and knows the inside and out of the War Memorial Hall where the SF Opera performs. First, he walked us backstage to show us where the crew loads in their beautiful props and set (that sometimes come from Europe).

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Did you know that 50-75 people work behind the stage for a single opera production? I didn’t either. These people are either a part of the prop department, the grip department (the carpenters), the electricians, the sound department, the hair and makeup department, the costume department and so much more. So next time when you clap at performances, make sure you include a standing ovation for these incredible people that make these performances a possibility. Here’s what it looks like standing on stage and backstage…

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As an oboist, one of my favorite parts of the tour was going inside the orchestra pit. The musicians (ranging from another 50-75 people!) who support the opera are definitely vital to a successful performance for the singers, especially the Music Director who truly drives the entire show. I just couldn’t resist seeing what it felt like sitting in that seat. You have no idea how excited I was to take this picture!

Next week I’ll be sharing more of my backstage tour taking you up inside the iconic chandelier, the creepy attack and the basement of the War Memorial Hall. Did I mention this will include a real phantom of the opera story that happened right here in San Francisco? Oh yes.

What is your favorite design feature of the War Memorial Hall? Do you wish there could be anything different? What are some of your favorite venues that you’ve visited?

Click here to see more about the San Francisco Opera’s upcoming season!

The New Way to “OPERA”

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And you thought seeing opera was for the old people with squeaky hearing aids… Not in San Francisco! The SF Opera has started a new event called SF Opera Pop-Up Lab featuring their fantastic singers but in a new and “out-of-the-box” way.

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Last Friday, over 300 people gathered at the Chapel in the Mission, yes the Mission to see opera. With drinks in hand we stood and faced the stage as if a DJ was about to play our favorite jams. But the night had so much more in store for us. A round of young operas singers came out in casual jeans and t-shirts to sing famous opera pieces including my all time favorite, Nessun Dorma. (See a clip on my new facebook page)

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I have to say, my favorite part of the concert was their HILLARIOUS memes that played in the background as the singers performed. I don’t think a lot of the performers were aware of what was behind them. Many times they would turn around and burst out laughing after they saw these “supertitles”. Everyone was cracking up and lifting up their glasses with approval. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.

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From incredible arias to duets and love songs, this group impressed us all and made each person fall in love (or validate their love) for opera. By us, I mean everyone, even those that have never been to an opera. Not only was this a great way for people to meet the arts, but it was a brilliant way for the arts to meet us in our current and modern society with humor, light-hearted fun and visuals that made their way on every Snapchat account in the room.

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Yup, that’s me capturing the pictures and loving every minute of the event. After the concert, the room turned into a dance party where I personally toasted to a great night with each and every artist that performed. Now that’s what I call a fantastic and memorable experience. What events have you seen recently that have inspired you?

P.S. Welcome to my new blog! I want to give you the opportunity to see and understand the truth in what you’re watching; the discipline, dedication, devotion, history and the hard work that goes into showcasing the brilliance of timeless stories and cultural performances. Follow me on my journey as I get raw footage of dress rehearsals, backstage interviews and private tours and get the inside scoop within the arts community.