Read them and weep: Meet the team behind the text for SFO's productions

Electronic Libretto System (ELS) text displayed during a dress rehearsal for The Barber of Seville; photo Curtis Brown for the Santa Fe Opera

It looks simple enough. There’s a little screen in front of each seat at the Santa Fe Opera and some pre-show messages appear on it, followed by a choice of three options — an English version of the opera’s text, a Spanish version, or nothing at all. Somebody, perhaps the stage manager, probably pushes a button from time to time to make the titles appear in the Electronic Libretto System (ELS).

They’re extremely helpful when hearing an opera in an unfamiliar language, perhaps such as the Italian text for The Barber of Seville, opening Saturday, July 2.

Read them and weep: Meet the team behind the text for SFO's productions

From left, Count Almaviva (played by Jack Swanson), Figaro (Joshua Hopkins) and Rosina (Emily Fons) perform in The Barber of Seville in July.

Read them and weep: Meet the team behind the text for SFO's productions

Previous ELS, which debuted at the SFO in 1999

Read them and weep: Meet the team behind the text for SFO's productions

Opera’s current ELS screen, photo Curtis Brown for the Santa Fe Opera

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