So...San Francisco Opera.
I had a great Fall in San Francisco. Great people. Great friends. Great company. I've been so thankful to have had the company bring me back the last two seasons, after making my last-minute debut in the Fall of 2008. To me, it's just one of those companies that treat their artists very well, and so everybody WANTS to go back and work there. And then the productions are all the better because of it.
Madama Butterfly came first, as far as my assignments were concerned. The production was Chicago's, from my first season at Lyric Opera. The whole thing consisted of a giant turn table with Butterfly's house on it. And as the opera progressed, the house would spin as different sides of the set were used for the different scenes. Very classy. Very poignant. And it's ALWAYS nice to be able to come back to a familiar production again. I enjoyed my cast. Sometimes the rehearsal period can seem to drag on and on when you're working, but Butterfly seemed to move along at a nice clip, and before you knew it, we were onstage and into dress rehearsals.
I enjoyed three quarters of the run, and then I had to back out so that I could begin rehearsals for my second show of the season.
Aida was nice to come back to. After enjoying a second consecutive summer of it at the Bregenz Festival in Austria, it really seemed like cake walk. Being so familiar with the opera helped, too, being that our cast had only five days to put everything together before our two dress rehearsals and then the re-opening. Again, great cast. Got to work with a great colleague and friend of mine, Christian Van Horn, who is enjoying a healthy international career after establishing himself strongly in Munich and elsewhere in Europe. He and I were in both Butterfly AND Aida. SF Opera was privileged to have his talent there, as were the rest of us onstage! I was just happy to sing with my friend. It surely makes going to work easier when you get to see familiar faces on the stage with you.
There were so many GREAT great friends at the Opera: in the Rehearsal Department, in Wigs and Make-up, in the Chorus, and even in the audience on certain nights. SF Opera has done so well, whether they know it or now, in nurturing such a cozy work environment. It really makes all the difference.
And in the end, it's always hard to leave. Partly because of all the time that had been spent in that wonderful town. Lots of good times.