Click below to visit the archive 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.

View by year: 2020  |   2019  |   2018  |   2017  |   2016  |   2015  |   2014  |   2013  |   2012  |   2011  |   2010  |   2009  |   2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bel Canto: Is It The Words Or The Music?

Let’s explore further a topic that we discussed a few months back, inspired by a recent article in the New York Times by the eminent music critic Anthony Tommasini on the nature of bel canto.  Does this elusive Italian term describe a style of musical composition, especially in terms of melodic direction, or a composer’s sensitivity to words?  Or both?  You be the judge!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dance In Opera. And I'm Not Talking Ballet!

We all know that opera and dance have been intertwined since the beginning, and in France they were co-equal arts living in the same space.  But have you ever given thought to all of those moments in opera where dance actually moves the drama along, not a tacked on, pretty addition to the opera but an important part of the narrative?  Let's talk about it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Scaling the Heights: Coloratura Sopranos

In a series of occasional surveys of specialized voice types here are a few words (and a few sound clips) of every opera lover's stratospheric dream...the coloratura soprano.  When the composer says 'jump', she asks 'how high?'

Monday, November 3, 2008

Is There Recitative In Modern Opera?

Whatever happened to recitative?  Did it die with Donizetti or did composers somehow carry on the style?  And more importantly, does recitative still have a place in so called modern opera?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Overtures, Part Deux

Let's continue our discussion of the opera overture by looking at Mozart, Rossini and the composers of our 2009 Season operas.  More on the evolution of the overture...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sinfonias, Preludes and Overtures: Where Do We Begin?

Let's take a little time out to focus on the role of the orchestra in opera, beginning at the beginning: the overture.  What is the role of the overture?  Since it's the first music you hear, it's pretty important, right?  Well, maybe.  Here's a brief history.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Are You New? Here's How To Really Enjoy An Evening At The Opera!

Are you dreading it?  Are you looking forward to it?  You're just putting up with it because your wife wants to go?  Which opera is good to bring the kids to?  Give me 15 minutes, I'll show you how to have a good time at the opera, from dinner before to drinks after!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Benjamin Britten and English Opera

Britten, the composer of "Peter Grimes" which San Diego Opera will be producing in 2009,  was a crucial link to composers today who work in the English language.  Let's explore his contribution to the art.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Vocal Cadenza: Some Singers Just Want to Show Off!

Besides defining just what a cadenza is, let's go a bit further and ask ourselves if there are dramatic or even emotional reasons for cadenzas, or are they just an opportunity for a singer to milk applause from the audience?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Massenet. The French Puccini?

In my humble opinion, Massenet and Puccini are speaking essentially the same language and share a similar turn-of-the-century aesthetic.  Listen in and see if you agree!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thematic Reminiscence: Come Again?

Yes it's a formidable name, but it's one of the most easily recognizable techniques that composers use to pull their operas together.  Spend a few moments and let me give you some great examples from our 2009 season!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tosca: Recordings I Love

A little summer diversion: there are so many good recordings of Tosca out there, but which ones are best?  I'm not sure, but here are some of my favorites, recordings that you'll be able to find on

Monday, July 14, 2008

Recitative: OK, So Just What Is It?

Recitative.  It's a word you hear thrown around a lot in operatic circles, but do you know what it really means?  Not to's everything you need to know about recitative and then some.  You'll be thanking me when you can use it intelligently during the next intermission at the opera.  Your friends will be impressed.  Seriously.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Exoticism in opera. Is that incense I smell?

What's up with operas like Aida, The Pearl Fishers, Madama Butterfly and Turandot?  Nineteenth century opera seemed to corner the market on exotic locales. 

Friday, April 11, 2008

Basses: the lowdown on the down low!

OK, OK, I was just trying to get your attention.  Nothing salacious here, just a brief overview of the guys at the bottom.  No, really!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Word on Verdi

The old man knew what he was doing: he wanted opera to be real theatre.  And if a Verdi opera doesn't come off that way, then something's wrong.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Baritones: Every man thinks he IS one

The baritone is the man's man of opera.  If George Clooney were an opera singer, he'd probably be one.  But he's not.  So we won't go there.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Italy and the Opera. Why?

Because.  A brief history of Italy and its relationship to one of her most glorious exports.  Besides limoncello.  Say Euridice three times fast.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mezzo-Sopranos: Tony Still Doesn't Live Here!

Mamas, witches and gypsies.  And real women with an independent streak.  If The Sopranos were an opera, Livia would be one.  A mezzo, that is.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What Is An Aria?

A brief history of something you didn't know existed until you started coming to San Diego Opera.  Why don't we just call it a song and be done with it?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tenors: Opera's 'Players'

The sopranos all die and the tenors have all the sex.  Wassup wid dat?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Is 'bel canto' a new restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter?

Maybe it oughta be.  But short answer: no.  Tune in the long answer.  It's got something to do with beautiful singing and we've got it!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Sopranos: Tony Doesn't Live Here!

...or Carmela or Meadow or Johnny Sack.  But if you want to get to know the other sopranos, tune in.  Coloraturas, dramatics, lyrics...they're all gorgeous and they're all here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Opera Basics: Words and Music

Something kind of cool happens when words and music meet.  You know, your song??  It reminds you of when you met that special person...where you were, what you did, maybe even what time it was.  Multiply that by one hundred and you have opera!