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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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Carmen: Meet Stage Director, Kyle Lang

The wonderful young stage director Kyle Lang brought us terrific productions of The Pirates of Penzance and As One in the last couple of seasons. He's back for Carmen, and that's truly something to be excited about! Listen in as he tells us all about his approach to this classic opera and how each of the principal characters fit in the tragic story. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Carmen: Meet Robert Watson

Tenor Robert Watson, our Don Jose in Carmen opening this week, has a lot to say about this character. Jose has one of the most interesting character arcs in all opera, moving from lyrical naif to obsessive lover with all of the musical changes that arc demands. The young singer talks about his beginnings as well, hailing from Kansas City (like colleague co-star Scott Conner, our Escamillo) and coming up through the ranks in the German fest system. Enjoy! 


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Carmen: Meet Sarah Tucker

Soprano Sarah Tucker sings the role of Micaela in our production of Bizet's Carmen, a role that fits her very well. Micaela is, of course, Don Jose's childhood friend who has come to Seville to bring memories of home and the love of his mother who awaits him in their village. The character as written is rather straightforward, but Sarah talks about how she will come across as somewhat more complex in this production, and how that complexity comes from Bizet's wonderful score. Enjoy. 


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Carmen: Meet Scott Conner

Bass Scott Conner sings the role of Escamillo in our production of Carmen by Georges Bizet. Listening to this voice...even his speaking voice...you'll want to hear him let loose in the Civic Theatre with the wonderful Toreador Song, an entrance aria like no other! Scott hails from Kansas City and in this interview he talks about his background, his studies and the roles that he's portraying all over the world. On top of it, he's a delightful guy! Enjoy. 


Monday, March 18, 2019

Carmen: Meet Ginger Costa-Jackson

Mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson obviously loves the opera Carmen, and has some definite viewpoints when it comes to the main character she portrays. It all boils down to being fully present, completely focused when playing this volatile character, she says. In this delightful interview she digs a little deeper for us and gives the audience a preview of what her Carmen will be! Enjoy. 


Monday, March 4, 2019

Three Decembers: Adam Turner

Conductor Adam Turner recently became the Artistic Director and Conductor for Virginia Opera, making him one of the youngest AD's in the American opera world. This is his third time at the helm for Jake Heggie's Three Decembers, and in this interview he reflects on the piece, on chamber opera generally, and on his career. Enjoy this fifth and final interview of the principals in this production!


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Three Decembers: Meet Stage Director, Karen Tiller

Director Karen Tiller has directed Three Decembers three times now, and obviously loves this opera by Jake Heggie. In this interview she talks about her love for the piece as well as for her deep appreciation for its connection between drama, text and music. At the heart of the matter, she says, the message of this opera is that "life is messy", a direct quote from the libretto. Spend a few minutes with this artist and you'll see why we're so excited to present this opera, opening March 8th! 


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Three Decembers: Meet Kristin Clayton

Soprano Kristin Clayton has had quite an eclectic career so far...singing roles like Mimi and Violetta, plus singing new roles and including working with a circus! She originated the role of Beatrice in Heggie's Three Decembers, and has an affinity for this wonderful character who is searching for memories of her father, being protective of her brother Charlie and dealing with the sometimes present, sometimes absent mother, Maddy. Join us for this fun conversation with a San Diego Opera debut artist! 


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Three Decembers: Meet Steven LaBrie

Baritone Steven LaBrie sings the role of Charlie in Jake Heggie's opera Three Decembers. Charlie is the gay son of Madeline Mitchell (mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade) and brother of Bea (soprano Kristin Clayton) in this intimate family drama. Steven hails from Dallas and has a charming story about his attraction to opera and, eventually, to singing as a career, in this lively interview in which he talks about his career and this wonderful chamber opera. Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Three Decembers: Meet Frederica von Stade

We already know what a delightful person and great artist Frederica von Stade is. We're welcoming her back to San Diego Opera in the role of Madeline Mitchell, the central character in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers. In this interview she talks about the opera and her role in it, with an additional few words about opera composer Dominick Argento who passed away just a few days before this interview (aged 91) and composed some lovely music for this singer. A wonderful few minutes with a charming lady! Enjoy! 


Friday, February 1, 2019

Rigoletto: Conductor, Steven White

Maestro Steven White is making his debut with San Diego Opera in this production of Rigoletto. (He also happens to be married to soprano Elizabeth Futral who has been with us on several occasions in the past, most notably as Violetta in our 2010 La traviata.) Steven is in love with this Verdi masterwork and has a lot of wonderful things to say about its musical structure in scintillating conversation with Nic Reveles. In fact, they both seem to enjoy "geeking out" over Verdi! Have fun with this dive into the deep end of one of Verdi's greatest works.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Rigoletto: Stage Director, Michael Cavanagh

This is Canadian stage director Michael Cavanagh's debut with San Diego Opera and he's made quite an impression on the cast and crew working on Rigoletto with his positivity, collegiality and generous support of everyone involved in this important project! Listen in to this conversation with Nic Reveles as he gives us his point of view on Verdi's masterpiece and an inside look at what opera stage directors do. Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Rigoletto: Tenor, Scott Quinn

Get ready for a delightful conversation with tenor, Scott Quinn, singing the role of the Duke of Mantua in San Diego Opera's production of Verdi's Rigoletto. Scott is singing the role of a narcissistic, entitled nobleman who uses women for his own pleasure and has utterly no empathy for them. Yet, Verdi gives this character some of the most beautiful and voluptuous music in the opera! Scott discusses that, as well as his past journey into the opera world and a comment or two about how tenors successfully achieve those high notes! Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Rigoletto: Soprano Alisa Jordheim

Soprano Alisa Jordheim is a wonderful young singer making her role debut as well as her company debut with us as Gilda in Rigoletto. In this conversation with Dr. Nic she talks about being a grad student and finding herself in a production of the same opera with Stephen Powell (singing Rigoletto in our production), as well as the challenges of the role. In a fascinating detour, she talks about the importance of breath and where a good singer's breath must emanate from. Listen in and enjoy! 


Monday, January 21, 2019

Rigoletto: Interview with Stephen Powell

Baritone Stephen Powell is one of our favorite singers here at San Diego Opera, having sung ten productions with us over the years. He's bringing us his very special take on one of the strangest yet most powerful characters in all opera, and a favorite of the composer himself: Rigoletto. It's a role that demands absolutely everything: technique, musicality, a strong voice and physicality. In this conversation with Nic Reveles the singer shares his ideas about this role as well as some of the other Verdi roles that he has sung (and would like to sing!) Enjoy! 


Monday, November 26, 2018

All Is Calm: Meet Stage Director, Alan Hicks

Director Alan Hicks is new to San Diego Opera, holding a joint position as Assistant Stage Director for the company and as head of the opera program at San Diego State University. In this interview he shares his preparation for the WWI opera All Is Calm, and brings his insight to this intimate and stunning musical theatre experience. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

All Is Calm: Meet Conductor Juan Carlos Acosta

Juan Carlos Acosta has a long-standing relationship with San Diego Opera, as a student at our Student Dress Rehearsals, as a subscriber, as a member of the San Diego Opera Chorus and now as conductor of our upcoming production: All Is Calm. In this interview he talks about the challenges of keeping a 16-member all-male chorus on track (and on pitch!) without the presence of an orchestra or some kind of instrumental accompaniment. This unique opera has got Juan Carlos and our Dr. Nic very excited about upcoming opening on December 7. Enjoy!


Monday, October 15, 2018

The Marriage of Figaro: Meet Conductor John Nelson

In this fascinating interview, Maestro John Nelson shares his thoughts about Mozart, the brilliant young cast of The Marriage of Figaro, Stephen Lawless' flawless production (which, according to Nelson is the most musically effective production of an opera that he's ever seen), and spirituality as communicated in the famous 'perdono' scene at the end. (No spoilers here!) Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Meeting Cherubino: The Marriage of Figaro

Mezzo-soprano Emily Fons is back with us in the trouser role of Cherubino for The Marriage of Figaro. She was last with us as Zerlina in Mozart's Don Giovanni, and her contribution to that show was simply fantastic! In this interview with Dr. Nic she talks about the nature of trouser roles (for those of us who don't know what that is or who need a 'brush up'!), about the character of Cherubino and about her experience with playing this fun part. This is an absolutely delightful interview, so tune in and enjoy!


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Meet Susanna and the Countess: The Marriage of Figaro

Sopranos Sarah Shafer and Caitlin Lynch sing the roles of Susanna and the Countess Almaviva, respectively, in our production of The Marriage of Figaro. Ms. Lynch catches up on Rosina a few years into her role as the wife of Count Almaviva and Ms. Shafer lets us in a bit on the back story of Susanna, the Count's current target for seduction. The plot thickens in this conversation with two wonderful debut artists in this Mozart classic. Enjoy!


Monday, October 8, 2018

Meet Figaro and the Count: The Marriage of Figaro

Bass-baritone Evan Hughes and baritone John Moore play Figaro and Count Almaviva, respectively, in our upcoming production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. In this wonderful conversation with Nic Reveles they talk about their careers, their roles and the contributions of the author of the plays that this opera (and Rossini's The Barber of Seville) are based on: Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. These singers also find a lot in this opera for us to think about in terms of current affairs. Enjoy! 


Monday, August 6, 2018

Carmen: Interview with David Bennett

Bizet's opera Carmen is right up there with La boheme and Aida in terms of popularity, and so it returns to SDO with a new production for us, and a brilliant new cast of young singers. In this interview with General Director David Bennett, he talks about the return of opera's favorite femme fatale! 


Monday, August 6, 2018

Three Decembers: Interview with David Bennett

Jake Heggie's connection with Frederica Von Stade is well known, and this was the first complete operatic role that he created for her. We are honored that Ms. Von Stade will be with us again, along with this challenging work about family...the relationships we have as opposed to the ones we wish we had. Enjoy this conversation with General Director David Bennett!


Monday, August 6, 2018

Rigoletto: Interview with David Bennett

One of Verdi's greatest creations, Rigoletto graces our stage again after a ten-year absence. The opera was a real experiment for the composer in that it breaks with so many operatic traditions, like giving the main character an aria or two...what Rigoletto gets are monologues, making him a kind of musical Shakespearean character. Enjoy what Mr. Bennett has to say about the singers and the production of this dynamic piece of musical theatre!


Monday, August 6, 2018

All Is Calm: Interview with David Bennett

All Is Calm, a production originally conceived by Theatre Latte Da in Minneapolis, is a choral opera about a true story: the Christmas Eve cease fire in 1914, when the Allies and German troops in the trenches spent a few hours at peace, singing their favorite carols, sharing stories and even playing a soccer match. In this interview General Director David Bennett talks about the origins of this production from Bodhi Tree Concerts and the involvement of the choral group Sacra Profana. Enjoy! 


Monday, August 6, 2018

The Marriage of Figaro: Interview with David Bennett

In this conversation with David Bennett, General Director of San Diego Opera, you'll hear all about the singers, the director, the conductor and this wonderful new production of Mozart's masterpiece. Figaro is both a drama and a comedy with some of the most beautiful and engaging music ever written for the stage. Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Florencia en el Amazonas: A Conversation with Andrea Catan

Andrea Catan, the widow of composer Daniel Catan, is a thoughtful and passionate advocate for her late husband's works, especially Florencia en el Amazonas. In this conversation with Dr. Nic, she talks about her husband's legacy, the music, its effect on the audience and her continuing joy in promoting the work of this master composer. We're honored that she took the time to spend with our audience, to give us an idea of what to expect when we see this wonderful piece. Enjoy!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Florencia en el Amazonas: Meet Hector Vasquez & Luis Alejandro Orozco

Baritones Hector Vasquez and Luis Alejandro Orozco have both been involved in previous productions of Florencia en el Amazonas. Vasquez created the role of Alvaro at the world premiere at Houston Grand Opera and has since taken on the role of The Captain. Orozco has covered Riolobo (at Washington National Opera) and sung the role at Arizona Opera. These two artists have a lot to say about the opera, its music and its challenges, but overall are just great people to listen to! Enjoy their conversation with Dr. Nic!


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Florencia en el Amazonas: Soprano, Elaine Alvarez

Soprano Elaine Alvarez is singing the title role in Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas. In this conversation with Dr. Nic she talks about her exciting operatic debut at Chicago Lyric Opera as Mimi in La boheme, under the direction of renowned diva Renata Scotto, and her approach to the lyrical, challenging music of Daniel Catan. We can't wait to hear and see her at the opening of this wonderful opera on Saturday, March 17th!!


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Florencia en el Amazonas: Meet Director, Candace Evans

Stage director Candace Evans is making her San Diego Opera debut with Florencia en el Amazonas. In her mind, the characters in this opera are all looking for something that a trip into the river...dark, mysterious, filled with colorful but maybe dangerous creatures...challenges them to find. Every character in the opera comes away from the journey somehow changed, transformed. In a revealing interview with Dr. Nic she shares her excitement for this wonderful piece! Enjoy. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Florencia en el Amazonas: Meet Joseph Mechavich

If you want to know more about Daniel Catan's music for Florencia en el Amazonas, GO NO FURTHER! In this brief conversation with the conductor Joseph Mechavich, who will lead the musical forces in this San Diego Opera production, we get a wonderful description of the music as well as the music's role in communicating the 'magical realism' of the story. Enjoy!


Friday, March 2, 2018

Florencia en el Amazonas: Meet Rosalba and Arcadio

While Florencia en el Amazonas is about a primary couple...the opera singer Florencia and her long-lost lover Cristobal...the secondary romantic couple Arcadio and Rosalba are just as fascinating! Sung here by soprano Maria Fernanda Castillo and tenor Paul Montenegro, this young couple spends the opera flirting, philosophizing and then finally connecting romantically as they grow together in love. Listen to these wonderful young singers talk about the opera, their roles, and the wonderful composer Daniel Catan. Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Meet the Conductor: Valerio Galli

Maestro Valerio Galli makes his San Diego Opera debut conducting Puccini's Turandot. The opera is close to Galli's heart because he hails from Viareggio, the neighboring town to the composer's Torre del Lago, and also an area where Puccini built a beautiful villa. In fact, in departing, Galli mentioned that his grandfather had at one point met the composer who was looking for advice on fixing his motorboat (one of Puccini's prized possessions!) Listen in on this conversation with Dr. Nic and enjoy!


Friday, February 16, 2018

Meet Stage Director Keturah Stickann

Keturah Stickann has been with San Diego Opera for a good amount of time, as a dancer, choreographer, assistant director and now as the stage director of our latest production of Turandot. In this conversation with Dr. Nic, she explores production and costume elements of the show and talks about the ideas that helped her make a deep connection with this story. Again we're acquainted with the Persian roots of the story and the influence of the poet and mystic Rumi who Ms. Stickann found an important influence on her approach to the work. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Meeting Calaf: Tenor, Carl Tanner

Tenor Carl Tanner has been singing all the big, hefty Italian tenor roles: Otello, Manrico, Radames, Calaf. Otello has become a go-to role for him, an opera that he's appeared in many times. In this conversation with Dr. Nic he talks about how he got there, the challenges of these roles, how to deal with the ubiquitous sound of Pavarotti singing "Nessun dorma", and a fascinating side-career in jewelry design! Enjoy.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meeting Liu: Soprano, Angel Blue

Angel Blue is one of opera's up-and-coming stars and is making her role (and house) debut as Liu in our production of Turandot. As a Southern Californian and University of Redlands graduate, she's practically a 'local' and, as she expresses in this interview, is delighted to be singing at home! She recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Mimi and is looking forward to upcoming appearances as Marguerite in Faust and Violetta in La traviata. Enjoy this conversation!


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Meeting Turandot: Soprano, Lise Lindstrom

In a free-wheeling conversation with Dr. Nic, soprano Lise Lindstrom discusses Wagner, performance prep, acting challenges, Wozzeck and Persian classical music! Yep, it was one of those conversations: delightful, insightful, fun, and reflective of the committed professional life of one of today's most successful singers, who also happens to be one of San Diego Opera's favorite people! Enjoy! 


Monday, January 22, 2018

Maria de Buenos Aires: meet baritone Paul La Rosa

Baritone Paul La Rosa sings the payador, the minstrel or troubadour who plays many roles throughout the narrative of Maria de Buenos Aires. Normally Paul is singing the standard Italian and French repertoire, but in this conversation he makes a good case for the versatility that every opera singer needs in order to have a successful career. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Maria de Buenos Aires: Meet Maestro Bruce Stasyna

On Tuesday, January 16, Bruce Stasyna, Chorus Master of the San Diego Opera Chorus and Music Administrator for San Diego Opera, gave a talk to donors and supporters about Astor Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires. In his presentation he talked about the role of a conductor, how he approaches rehearsals with singers and orchestra, the origins of the tango, Piazzolla's role as a composer and why the conductor is relishing the opportunity to play and conduct from the piano in this production. Punctuated by appearances of his dog 'Chewy', some backstage crew members and dancers warming up for an ensuing rehearsal, you'll get a first-hand peek at the musical building blocks for a wonderful opera. Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Maria de Buenos Aires: Meet John de los Santos

Stage director and choreographer John de los Santos has come up with some terrific ideas about staging Maria de Buenos Aires which, in some ways, can be considered an elusive piece. But he's fashioned a narrative for it that will really help us, the audience, grasp it immediately, just as we will be quickly engaged by the music. Enjoy!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Maria de Buenos Aires: Meet Audrey Babcock

Mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock is singing her role debut in our production of Maria de Buenos Aires. A veteran singer of the role of Carmen, her voice and theatrical personality are perfect for Maria. In this podcast episode she talks about her take on the character and the fascinating libretto of Horacio Ferrer. Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tango in Maria de Buenos Aires

Who knew tango...the dance and the music...was so complicated?? The origins of the tango are disputed, confused and floating somewhere in the mists of time. And different styles of tango are so different that it is difficult to come up with a nice, clean definition of the art form. Yet, when we hear a tango we know what it is! Amazing. Check out this latest podcast on how Astor Piazzolla uses the tango in his operita, Maria de Buenos Aires. Enjoy!