Author Topic: First time opera? need some help.  (Read 3669 times)

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First time opera? need some help.
« on: Dec 03, 2005, 12:37 am »
Hi everyone! I'm a college senior stage manager, and have been stage managing in the theater department for a couple years as well as working at the local 2000 seat road house as the in-house ASM, so I'm not new to stage managing. Next week though, I'm starting work on my first opera, for the music department. I was just asked to do this yesterday (the professional SM they hired backed out), but it happened to work for my schedule so I've accepted. I read music well, so that's not a concern. My worries are concerning how late in the process I'm starting- I don't even get a score till monday, and I'm pretty sure that's the start of tech, that night, when I start. I know that at some point very soon I'll need to time out 30-sec intervals in my script so I can page actors to the stage. Should I worry about paging them until dress though? I don't know when I'm going to have time to time it out while I'm working out cues and such. Any thoughts on whether getting hold of a recording and timing it out to that would be helpful? I guess I'm just trying to get into the process as smoothly as possible without looking incompetant since I don't really have the opportunity to do any prep work at all. What do you think would be a good step-by-step approach for me to get started with until I actually know what is going on? Sorry this sounds so rambly, I'm just frustrated with the director who doesn't really seem to notice that it might help me to have an idea of the schedule, etc before I show up. Thanks for listening/helping! -Meg


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First time opera? need some help.
« Reply #1 on: Dec 03, 2005, 01:16 pm »
I would absolutely do your timings!  I actually do them at 15 seconds instead of thirty.

Was the SM who backed out around for rehearsals or does the school just not bring anyone in until tech?

If I were in your situation I would be prepared to page them to the stage ASAP.  That way they are in your score and you can get used to them just like they were light cues you were calling.

Sometimes it’s amazing how an art form so close to theatre can be so different in the stage management department.  Most of all just stay calm be as prepared as you can and ask questions when you need to.
Jess W. Speaker, III
Equity Stage Manager
DC Area AEA Liaison
(301) 335-1498


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yes get a recording
« Reply #2 on: Dec 03, 2005, 03:20 pm »
And I think it's a great idea to get your hands on a recording and listen to it a lot.  Even though you can read music, nothing helps you get familiar to an opera better than listening to it.  If it were me, I'd be downloading the music and looping it on my iPod 24/7 basically.

And while timings you take off of a recording won't exactly line up with what you're taking in the production, your 10:30 mark and your 15:30 mark will still be about 5 minutes apart, and that's precise enough for your purposes at this late date.  Just make sure that your score has all the correct cuts marked in it.

Sounds like you're at a good starting place for your situation!
Heath Belden

"I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right." - Sondheim


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