UCSD-TV – in the form of Your Humble Correspondent – continues to chronicle the adventures of San Diego Opera with two award-winning series, San Diego OperaTalk (in its 17th season) and San Diego Opera Spotlight (now in its 19th year, it’s “the opera series that’s old enough to vote”). Taken together as companion programs, these shows offer viewers an “all-access pass” that goes beyond sound bites and packaged promos with in-depth analysis, rehearsal and performance footage, and interviews with key participants. The result is an entertaining and informative portrait of the creative processes and personalities that bring opera to life in San Diego.
Having stabilized after winning a very public battle to stay alive, San Diego Opera is now fashioning a new direction for the Company. New General Director David Bennett has assured long-time patrons that the Company will not forsake traditional repertoire; rather, the intention going forward is to mix large-scale productions at the Civic Theatre with intimate productions of the new & the unfamiliar at a variety of venues, and to markedly increase the Opera’s outreach, visibility and engagement in the community. In that light the 2015/16 season may be seen as both a summation of where the company has been – a producer of traditional grand opera – and as a harbinger of things to come – a presenter of new works by contemporary composers.
Tradition is represented in the best way by two of Giacomo Puccini’s most beloved works, Tosca and Madama Butterfly, in productions that are new to San Diego Opera but are directed by two SDO favorites, Lesley Koenig and Garnett Bruce respectively. The third production, the West Coast premiere of Great Scott, is SDO’s second staging of an opera by Jake Heggie, following the phenomenal success of his Moby-Dick. This original serio-comedy features a stellar cast and a libretto by Terrence McNally (Master Class), and is directed by former Old Globe Artistic Director and theatrical legend Jack O’Brien. Jack is no stranger to the UCSD-TV audience, from his appearances on our Backstage at the Globe series.
As in years past, UCSD-TV is delighted to accompany you backstage and seat you, front row center, for what promises to be a vibrant season of opera.
Verdi’s evergreen favorite “Aida” returns to San Diego Opera this weekend in a production designed by fashion icon Zandra Rhodes.
Get a look behind the scenes as cast and crew prepare to mount the grandest of grand operas with UCSD-TV’s “Opera Spotlight,” premiering tonight (April 19) at 9pm. (The video will be available online April 22 at this link, where additional broadcast dates and times are also available.)
How about getting to know the production’s cast and creative team, including Ms. Rhodes? Just watch “Stars in the Salon,” featuring a lively panel discussion hosted by Nick Reveles.
This week, San Diego Opera is busy is preparing for a murder, set to take place Saturday night when their production of Ildebrando Pizzetti’s “Murder in the Cathedral” takes the stage. Based upon the drama by American poet TS Eliot, the story revolves around the 1170 murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket by henchmen of King Henry II in Canterbury Cathedral.
In UCSD-TV’s presentation of “Stars in the Salon,” premiering tonight (Marchy 26) at 8pm and online now, host Nick Reveles joins the cast and artistic team behind the new San Diego Opera production to discuss the intricacies of this unjustly-negelected masterwork.
Then check out “OperaTalk!” where host Nick Reveles provides a guided historical tour of the work, including its basis in Eliot’s play, the development of musical themes, and Pizzetti’s melding of words and music for maximum dramatic effect.
Before you head to the theater to enjoy the show, make sure to tune in Friday, March 29 at 9pm for the premiere of UCSD-TV’s behind-the-scenes documentary, “Opera Spotlight.”
“Building It Better: Earthquake-Resilient Hospitals for the Future” nabbed the bronze in the Documentary category for its behind-the-scenes look at the rigorous earthquake testing UC San Diego researchers put their five-story mockup of a hospital through in order to better understand how the many complex systems within hospital buildings perform after earthquakes. Produced by UCSD-TV’s Rich Wargo, in partnership with the California Seismic Safety Commission, the program explores the history of seismic safety for California’s hospital infrastructure, and what is being done to secure its future.
Also taking home the bronze for documentary was “San Diego Opera Spotlight: Moby-Dick,” UCSD-TV producer John Menier’s in-depth look behind-the-scenes at the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” based upon the classic novel by Herman Melville.
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Epic passion, massive sets, bravura arias, large choral numbers and the famous “Bacchanale” dance.
It’s all preparing to unfold this Saturday, February 16 when San Diego Opera’s production of Camille Saint-Saens’ grand opera, “Samson and Delilah,” takes the stage.
How does such a large-scale production come together? Find out tonight (Feb 15) at 9pm during UCSD-TV’s “Opera Spotlight,” which goes behind-the-scenes of the staging process, including rehearsals, interviews with the talent and creative team, and more. (The half-hour program will also be available online by Monday, Feb. 18.)
In the meantime, take a peek at rehearsals with this short production update, or settle in for a conversation with the stars and creative team about the opera’s history, the challenges of designing, staging and performing the work, and the inspirations which Camille Saint-Saens drew upon in composing his dramatic masterpiece on Stars in the Salon. Finally, dive into the story of the Philistine temptress who pits her wiles, and her sex, against the superhuman strength of the mighty Hebrew warrior on OperaTalk!