In order to help you better appreciate our operas, our Community Engagement program presents this series of introductory podcasts hosted by Nicolas Reveles. These brief ‘conversations’ can be enjoyed by opera fans as well as those who are new to the art form. Informal yet informative, this is a great way to prepare to come see the operas during our season.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Maria de Buenos Aires: Astor Piazzolla

It's taken awhile for the entrancing, intimate and alternative opera Maria de Buenos Aires to make it to San Diego Opera, but it's finally here and we're all very excited! This opera is infused with the spirit and melodic adventure of the tango, the cultural habitat of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla. In this informative podcast, Dr. Nic gives you a bit of the story of this interesting artist with some suggestions about recordings that you might want to get in order to prepare for this wonderful work. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

As One: Stage Director, Kyle Lang

Kyle Lang has worked with the company for a few seasons now in the position of assistant director and, for The Pirates of Penzance, associate director. In this conversation with Dr. Nic he discusses his approach to the opera As One, especially the difference between preparing a standard repertoire item like Tosca or La boheme, and a relatively new opera. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Turandot: Puccini's Melodic Gift

Everyone knows that Puccini was an incredible melodist, i.e. a crafter of some of the most gorgeous melodies ever written for opera. Using "Nessun dorma", the big tune from Act III of Turandot, Dr. Nic reveals a little bit about the mystery involved in how a composer creates something so beautiful. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Meet Mezzo-Soprano Blythe Gaissert

Along with co-cast member Kelly Markgraf, Blythe Gaissert was there at the origin of the opera As One and has some wonderful reflections about having worked on the score and played the role of Hannah After a number of times. As an avid performer of new music she has a lot to say about the evolution of new opera today, something that we're all very excited about!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Meet Baritone Kelly Markgraf

Baritone Kelly Markgraf plays the role, "Hannah Before" in the opera As One, a story of a person's transition from male to female. The opera presents Hannah as one character, but she is portrayed by two singers...a baritone and a mezzo-soprano. In this conversation with Dr. Nic he describes the opera, the role and some of the challenges that he meets in this piece as a singing actor. 


Monday, October 9, 2017

Meet the Director: Seán Curran

Stage director and choreographer Seán Curran has been here before...San Diego, that is! He had done the principal choreography for Opera St. Louis' Nixon in China and was the director of Salome with Lise Lindstrom a few seasons back. He is the originating director of the current production of The Pirates of Penzance and he has a delightful story to tell about its artistic evolution...from a popular children's book! Enjoy. 


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Meeting the Pirate King & Ruth: Greer Grimsley and Luretta Bybee

What fun to welcome back bass-baritone Greer Grimsley as the Pirate King, and mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee as Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance. (As Luretta points out at the end of this conversation with Dr. Nic, she made her professional debut with San Diego Opera as Mrs. Sedley in Peter Grimes 1984.) We catch up with this delightful husband-wife team in this wide ranging interview about life, love and opera. Enjoy!


Friday, September 29, 2017

Meeting Mabel: soprano, Maureen McKay

Soprano Maureen McKay is back in San Diego after her wonderful portrayal of Nanetta in Verdi's Falstaff earlier this year. Singing the role of Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance brings her closer to her musical theatre roots. Listen in and enjoy!


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Meet the Major General: baritone, Patrick Carfizzi

If you want to have 12 minutes of fun, listen in to this conversation between baritone Patrick Carfizzi and Dr. Nic as they discuss Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance"! This is comic opera at it's finest and at its most fun. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Florencia en el Amazonas: A Tale of the River

Daniel Catan's opera, opening March 17th, 2018, is a tale inspired as much by magical realism as by the mysterious and winding path of the Amazon River. In this brief podcast, Dr. Nic introduces the characters and tells us about the opera's main theme: love. Florencia's love of her absent lover, Cristobal, is passionate yet unfulfilled, and it is expressed through music of unusual beauty. Enjoy!


Monday, August 28, 2017

Florencia and Magical Realism

Daniel Catan's opera Florencia en el Amazonas will a highlight of our season, opening in March, 2018. In this brief podcast, Dr. Nic defines the role of magical realism in the opera, giving us an introduction as a well as a context for its unusual style and story. 


Thursday, August 24, 2017

The First Turandots

When Puccini heard the big, beautiful voice of soprano Rosa Raisa he realized that he'd heard the perfect voice for the title role in Turandot. Unfortunately he died before the premiere of the opera, and although Raisa sang the premiere at La Scala, she was soon to be overshadowed by the young British soprano, Eva Turner. Luckily we have recordings of Turner singing excerpts from the role. Hear them in this brief survey of the beginnings of this opera's history. Enjoy!


Monday, August 14, 2017

As One is Not Alone! Other LGBT-Themed Operas

The opera As One, coming up at San Diego Opera in November this year, is one of a number of LGBT-themed operas to have premiered since 2000. In this brief discussion, Dr. Nic surveys a few of them and talks about the impact these works have made on the opera industry. An opera version of Brokeback Mountain? Yup! Watch, learn and enjoy!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Operas of Sir Arthur Sullivan

The musicians at the New York premiere of The Pirates of Penzance threatened to strike because the score was too difficult, too "operatic"! Silly, of course, but perhaps they had a point. There are many allusions and parodies of current opera styles in Sullivan's score. In this podcast, Dr. Nic gives us an idea of just how the composer went about it, and why. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

As One: An Opera About Transition

On November 10th, San Diego Opera will open As One, an opera by composer Laura Kaminsky and librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. It's an extraordinary work that will launch this season's Detour Series. In this podcast Dr. Nic talks about the power of opera in an intimate space, giving special attention to this wonderful opera that tackles a difficult and, as of this writing, especially relevant subject: growing up, understanding and living happily as a transgender person in America.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Three Premieres of The Pirates of Penzance

Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance had a complicated birth that was something of a scheduling nightmare. In order to acquire copyright for the U.S. (where there was a notorious history of unauthorized performances of their works), they premiered Pirates in New York. But to acquire a British copyright they had to stage a performance there as well, at virtually the same time. And then, of course, there was the "official" premiere at the Savoy in London, the theatre of their producer Richard D'Oyly Carte. Dr. Nic will try to sort it through for you! 


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pirates of Penzance: Background

Gilbert & Sullivan have been missing from our production seasons up til now. No more! In this podcast Dr. Nic shares some background on this most operatic of their works, looking forward to a brilliant production that will open on October 14, 2017! Enjoy!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Meet the Maestro: Conductor David Agler

Conductor David Agler is making his debut with San Diego Opera with this production of La traviata. He is currently the Artistic Director of Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland and shares with us some of the achievements of that company which include the staging of rarely performed operas and the discovery of wonderful young singers. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Meeting Germont: Baritone Stephen Powell

Stephen Powell has been a company favorite for twenty years, having started with us in a production of Carmen as Dancaire in 1997. Back now for Germont in La traviata, he has much to say in this interview about the role, his career and the state of opera in the United States. 


Monday, April 10, 2017

Meeting Violetta: Soprano Corinne Winters

Corinne Winters is making her San Diego Opera debut in her signature role of Violetta in La traviata. In this interview with Dr. Nic she talks about her background, her career and this favorite role of hers. 

[Please note that this podcast is audio only]


Monday, April 10, 2017

Meeting Alfredo: Tenor Jesus Garcia

Listen in to this interview with tenor, Jesus Garcia who is making his debut with us as Alfredo in our production of La traviata. You might be familiar with him as Rodolfo in the Baz Luhrmann Broadway production of La boheme, his first professional role. In this interview he speaks about his upbringing, his career up til now and the challenges of the role of Alfredo. Enjoy!

Please note, this is an audio-only podcast.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An Introduction to La traviata

Especially for students and teachers coming to the April 20th Student Dress Rehearsal of La traviata, this video features our Director of Community Engagement Nic Reveles introducing this well known masterpiece by Giuseppe Verdi. Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Word about The Tragedy of Carmen

The Tragedy of Carmen is not Carmen! Although you'll easily recognize Bizet's music, this is a version of the opera as a musical theatre piece devised by famed director Peter Brook to tell the story in a completely new way...or perhaps, depending on your point of view, the original way. Check out this video...Dr. Nic explains it all for you!


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Meeting Dame Quickly: Mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti

Mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti is one of this company's favorite people! Not only fun to be with and to talk to, she's a wonderful artist who lives inside her characters onstage. Enjoy this conversation with Nicolas Reveles as she talks about her role in Falstaff (Dame Quickly) and gives some advice to young singers.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Meeting 'Alice Ford'; Soprano, Ellie Dehn

This is soprano Ellie Dehn's third appearance with our company, now making her role debut as Alice Ford in Verdi's Falstaff. In this interview with Nicolas Reveles she spends a little time talking about her career, as well as the role and the current rehearsal process. After Mimi and Donna Anna this is a role with rather different challenges! Enjoy. 


Monday, February 6, 2017

Meet Falstaff: Baritone, Roberto de Candia

Baritone Roberto de Candia is making his West Coast debut with the role of Falstaff in our production of the Verdi opera opening on February 18th. This is one of his favorite roles and has the distinction of having coached it with Sesto Bruscantini, one of the great basso buffos of his generation. Roberto has much to say about this wonderful role and the fun he's having rehearsing the opera with this cast. Listen in!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Meet Stage Director Olivier Tambosi

Paris-born stage director Olivier Tambosi is directing his own production of Verdi's Falstaff, a production which originated with Chicago Lyric Opera. In this fascinating interview he gives us his understanding of the essence of this opera, which is a celebration of life and laughter (from the pen of an 80-year-old composer!) Enjoy!


Friday, January 27, 2017

The Tragedy of Carmen: A Preview

This isn't your grandma's Carmen! This is a version of the Bizet opera devised by eminent director Peter Brook back in the '80s in an attempt to focus intensely on the story and the important relationships in it. More based on the Prosper Merimee novella upon which the Bizet is based, The Tragedy of Carmen brings us much closer to the characters, especially the elemental power of the main character, while still using the great tunes and musical moments that we all know and love. In this conversation with Nic Reveles, stage director Alexander Gedeon gives us a preview of his take on this fascinating piece, complete with sneak peaks at video sequences by Yuki Izumihara and renderings of the costumes that will be used in our production by costume designer Adam Alonso. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Meet Lauren McNeese: Cinderella

Making her debut with San Diego Opera as Cinderella in La cenerentola is mezzo soprano Lauren McNeese. This is her fifth production of the opera and she tells in this revealing interview how she learns something new every time she approaches the role. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Meet Lindy Hume, Stage Director

Australian native Lindy Hume, Artistic Director of Opera Queensland, is making her San Diego Opera debut as the stage director for La cenerentola. Her delightful production of this Rossini opera has played in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and is now here. We talk about the genesis of the production and why its design is tied to mid-19th century London, a look and feel that seems to match the story perfectly. Enjoy!


Monday, May 2, 2016

Meeting Frederica Von Stade

It's hard to believe that in her long and distinguished careermezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade is only just now making her debutat San Diego Opera in Great Scott. But we'remaking up for lost time by sitting down with her to talk about herrole in the opera (Winnie Flato, the founder and director of thefictional America Opera company), a couple of her outstandingrecordings, opera in the U.S. today and a special word ofencouragement for young singers. Enjoy!!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Meeting the Maestro: Joseph Mechavich

Conductor Joseph Mechavich is back this season after having conducted John Adams' Nixon in China and Jake Heggie's Moby Dick a few seasons back. This new opera, Great Scott, is challenging in its own way but Maestro Mechavich obviously enjoys it and has a lot to say about its music, especially the interplay between two styles...one for the contemporary setting backstage at an opera house, and another for the 19th century opera that is being rehearsed. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Meeting Anthony Roth Costanzo

American countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo plays the role of the stage manager Roane Heckle in Great Scott. In this interview he talks about the countertenor voice type, the role, and his own experience of stage managers in his substantial theatrical career. Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meeting Joyce El Khoury

Soprano Joyce El Khoury plays the role of Tatiana Bakst in the opera Great Scott. This delightful Canadian artist has a lot to say to young singers about preparing yourself for a career...listen up! She also has a fun, wonderful take on the character she plays in the opera, an Eastern European diva who wants to take over the opera world! Enjoy!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Meet Teodor Illincai

Our Pinkerton for this production of Madama Butterfly is Romanian tenor Teodor Ilincai. In this interview he talks about the role and, most interestingly, where his love of music and singing came from. This delightful young tenor has a budding career in Europe already, and with this production he is making his U.S. debut.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Meet Latonia Moore

Soprano Latonia Moore, our Aida in the 2013 Season, returns to sing the role of Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly. Here she speaks about her life and career since then as well as her outlook on trends in American opera. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Meet J'nai Bridges

Mezzo-soprano J'nai Bridges plays the role of Cio Cio San's maid, Suzuki, in our production of Madama Butterfly. Her background is fascinating (from sports to opera!), her conservatory training exemplary and her voice is...luscious! Enjoy this interview. 


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Meet Anthony Clark Evans, baritone

Fresh from the Ryan Center for young artists at Chicago Lyric Opera, Kentucky native Anthony Clark Evans is a singer with a big career ahead of him. He's making his role debut as Sharpless, the American consul, in Madama Butterfly. In this interview with Nic Reveles he talks about his experience as a singer so far and assesses the role in approaching it as a young artist. 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Meeting Cavaradossi: tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones

Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones has a lot to say about the tenor voice, his lirico-spinto forebears like Gigli and Martinelli, as well as the role of Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca. Enjoy this interview as we look forward to his performances, opening this weekend!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Meet the Maestro: Massimo Zanetti

Maestro Zanetti was last with us in 2014, conducting A Masked Ball by Verdi. Some of you will remember, this was a tough time for the company. The maestro reflects on that moment of our history, as well as on the genius of Puccini and his love of Tosca. 


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Meeting Tosca: soprano, Alexia Voulgaridou

Our Tosca this season, soprano Alexia Voulgaridou, has been singing this role to great success all over the world, as well as roles such as Cio-Cio San, Marguerite and Liu. In this interview, she discusses Tosca with a very fresh 'take' on who this character really is.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Meet the Director: Lesley Koenig

Stage director Lesley Koenig was last with us when she directed a terrific production of Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) for us in 2014. She's back as the stage director of our current production of Tosca. In this interview she speaks about the piece itself as well as shares a bit of the process that she goes through in order to approach such a well-known opera in a fresh and engaging way.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Meet Baron Scarpia: bass-baritone Greer Grimsley

Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley is back in one of his favorite roles: Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca. In this interview he talks about the character and reflects a bit on what it is that makes this role so fulfilling and downright fun for him to sing!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Meeting Scarpia: bass-baritone Greer Grimsley

Our favorite bass-baritone returns for one of his favorite roles: Greer Grimsley sings Baron Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca. Greer has some definite ideas about who this character is, what motivates him and how to sing him. Tune in to our first podcast of the 2016 season!