A behind-the-scenes look at the world premiere of San Diego Opera’s opera “El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego”

On Saturday, the San Diego Opera will present “El Ultimo Sueño de Frida y Diego” (“Frida and Diego’s Last Dream”), a Spanish-language opera making its world premiere at the San Diego Civic Theater.

Co-written by Latin Grammy-winning composer Gabriela Lena Frank and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and librettist Nilo Cruz, the two-hour opera will retell the Kahlo-Rivera love story of a new and unique point of view – the afterlife.

Beginning in August, the San Diego Opera gave Union-Tribune photographer Nelvin C. Cepeda access to various stages of the opera’s development, during which he was able to photograph electricians , decorators, stagehands, costume designers, musicians and actors at work behind the scenes.

The entrance to the San Diego Opera Scenic Studio.

Scenic artist Courtney Ware works on one of the set design props for

At the San Diego Opera Scenic Studio on August 30, 2022, scenic artist Courtney Ware works on one of the set design props for “El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego” (“Frida and Diego’s Last Dream”).

San Diego Opera Scenic Studio workers assemble a large temporary floor covering.

San Diego Opera Scenic Studio workers assemble a large temporary floor covering.

Chief Carpenter Cory Klinge works on one of the set design props for

Head Carpenter Cory Klinge works on one of the set design props for “El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego” (“Frida and Diego’s Last Dream”).

    Jessica Harriman Baxter (foreground) and Melissa Nalbach paint props for

Jessica Harriman Baxter (foreground) and Melissa Nalbach paint props for “El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego” (“Frida and Diego’s Last Dream”).

Jessica Harriman Baxter paints one of the great stage props.

Jessica Harriman Baxter paints one of the great stage props.

Costume designer Eloise Kazan examines fabrics at the San Diego Opera Costume Shop.

Costume designer Eloise Kazan, part of the Mexican creative team hired to create the new opera, looks at fabrics at the San Diego Opera’s costume shop.

At the San Diego Opera Costume Shop, Anastasia Pautova pins a costume.

At the San Diego Opera Costume Shop, Anastasia Pautova pins a costume.

Anastasia Pautova does needlework for a costume.

Anastasia Pautova does needlework for a costume.

Costume shop manager Anastasia Pautova creates an original sewing pattern for a costume.

Costume shop manager Anastasia Pautova creates an original sewing pattern for a costume.

Raven Winter is working on creating a skeleton design for one of the costumes in the San Diego Opera Costume Shop.

Raven Winter is working on creating a skeleton design for one of the costumes in the San Diego Opera Costume Shop.

Maria De La Mora, one of the drapers at the San Diego Opera, checks costumes for last-minute fittings and adjustments.

Maria De La Mora, one of the drapers at the San Diego Opera, checks costumes for last-minute fittings and adjustments.

Jason Crutchfield uses a hacksaw to cut several pieces of pipe to use in crafting props.

Jason Crutchfield uses a hacksaw to cut several pieces of pipe to use in crafting props.

Set designer Jorge Ballina (left) reviews props with San Diego Opera Technical Director Tim Wallace.

Set designer Jorge Ballina (left) reviews props with San Diego Opera Technical Director Tim Wallace at the company’s Scenic Studio. Ballina’s design is intentionally two-dimensional, so it has the same flat canvas style as Frida Kahlo’s paintings.

San Diego Opera Production Manager Joan Foster briefs the approximately 50 stagehands at the San Diego Civic.

San Diego Opera Production Manager Joan Foster briefs the approximately 50 stagehands at the San Diego Civic Theater.

Michael

Michael “Mongo” Mogla lowers and raises the stage curtains.

The stagehands move the crates of equipment to the orchestra elevator to be taken under the stage.

The stagehands move the crates of equipment to the orchestra elevator to be taken under the stage.

The cast of

The cast of “El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego” (“Frida and Diego’s Last Dream”) rehearses at Bread & Salt in Logan Heights.

Director Lorena Maza works with Guadalupe Paz and Federico De Michelis.

Director Lorena Maza works with Guadalupe Paz and Federico De Michelis.

Bandleader Roberto Kalb leads the cast during a recent rehearsal.

Bandleader Roberto Kalb leads the cast during a recent rehearsal.

Assistant stage manager Megan Coutts updates the scores.

Assistant stage manager Megan Coutts updates the scores.

San Diego Opera: ‘El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego’ (‘The Last Dream of Frida and Diego’)

When: 7.30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 4 Nov. 2 p.m. 6 Nov.

Where: San Diego Civic Theater, 1100 Third Ave., San Diego

Tickets: $19 to $315

Call: (619) 533-7000

On line: sdopera.org

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