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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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! 


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Turandot: A Listener's Guide

If you're new to Turandot, or just want to brush up your knowledge of the music in this beautiful score, here's just the thing for you. In today's podcast Dr. Nic briefly outlines the story and touches on some of the more important musical moments, the 'stand-out' places that we enjoy every time we encounter this special opera. Enjoy! 


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!