In 1965, a newly created San Diego Opera opened the new Civic Theatre with a gala production of La bohème. The sets were freshly built and painted in the Opera's scene shop, located in what was then known as the Ford building, in Balboa Park.
We moved to our current facility in 1972, but during the last 40+ years the Scenic Studio has created well over 50 new productions for San Diego Opera. When you mix in our co-productions and those operas we have constructed for other companies, such as Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, and Florida Grand Opera the number of opera sets surpasses 100. The list of stages that our scenery has been seen on includes almost all of the level “A” companies in North America, a few in Europe, Latin America, and even Japan.
Aside from opera, we have built stage sets for a variety of theatrical arts organizations including the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, Nevada Dance Theatre, and the Alabama Ballet. Local organizations often contract our services. These include The Welk Resort Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Gaslamp Theatre, Old Globe Theatre, and dance companies including Malashock Dance, California Ballet, and Black Mountain Dance. We have also produced a variety of industrial and trade shows for local and national companies.
We at San Diego Opera Scenic Studios pride ourselves in providing only the highest quality products and supplies. Our experience and expertise assure that your project will be delivered on time and within budget. Our skilled craftsmanship is evident at all stages of the process, from concept to completion. Only the best materials are used to assure that the final product is durable, safe, and reliable.
Most of our department leaders have been with the company fifteen or more years. This talented group of artists and crafts persons brings a collective experience of almost 150 years in professional theatre.
Joan became Production Director for San Diego Opera in 2018. She joined the company in 1996 and has served as Associate Production Director and Production Manager since 1997. She has been involved in most aspects of the Production Department and Scenic Studio operations during that time. Joan is responsible for the Scenic Studio and the San Diego Opera Costume Shop as well as San Diego Opera's onstage productions. She approves contracts and payment schedules.
Jessica has been with the Scenic Studio since 2007 working as a Scenic Artist until taking on the additional role of Office Manager in 2017. She handles the accounting and contracting, and will be your first contact at the Scenic Studio. Her experience with SD Opera Productions, various types of Scenic Studio projects and her involvement in various productions in San Diego gives her insight into how to best guide you to the resources you need.
Production Carpenter/Technical Director
John David started building scenery with the company in 1969 and was promoted to his current position in 1977. Since that time he has overseen construction at the SD Opera Scenic Studio for SD Opera and a wide variety of major American opera companies, ballets, & regional theatres and corporate clients. In addition to his responsibilities at the Scenic Studio, he is Technical Director for all SD Opera's presentations. His training in Theatrical Design and Technology has helped to chart the course for the Scenic Studio's transition from a local concern to an internationally acclaimed organization.
Charge Scenic Artist
Charge Scenic Artist, joined the team in 1990 and became the Charge Scenic Artist in 2011. Tim has made his way up from shop guy to Charge Artist. He has painted and overseen scenic work on many operas and various types of scenic studio jobs. Tim is active in expanding our work into the industrial scenery arena. He is an active theatrical designer around San Diego.
Peter is one of our newer team members. He brings skills with newer digital technologies combined with strong skills in leading the crew. Peter works directly with clients and strives to provide excellent customer service.
Douglas has been a part of the team since 1986 and has recently taken over leadership of the daily shop operations. Prior to this expanded role, Douglas was the Production Welder were he spearheaded the growth of our metalworking capabilities, transforming us from a shop that reluctantly used steel, to one that can't quite imagine life without it. He gained his expertise in welding during his 6 years in the Navy.
Lead Scenic Artist
Darin has been in this department since 2002. In addition to old school painting skills, Darin is proficient in the digital scenic world of Photo Shop and Illustrator. He also coordinates digital output at the Scenic Studio. He works in a variety of materials and formats and is an avid photographer and graphic designer.
Facilities & Safety Manager
Greg maintains the facilities including building, painting, sculpting, sewing, and finishing for a crew of up to thirty or more. He is responsible for the maintenance of the tools and the safety of the work spaces. In his spare time, Greg also supplies us with a wealth of electrical expertise that we apply to various scenic endeavors.