Author Topic: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage  (Read 10551 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

EmmaB

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« on: Aug 04, 2009, 08:28 am »
Hello,

I'm doing my first contemporary opera called Shadowplays. I have never been a SM for an opera especially on a big scale, but the assistant director got me the job and I feel it my duty to not let anyone down just because it's new to me!!
My questions and tip wanting is for what happens at the end of rehearsals that makes the transition onto stage or the stage space.
I'm getting near the end of rehearsals and I'm feeling overwhelmed by it all - will it be a drastic change?
What will the different technical processes be??

 :P Eep!!

BKrynicki

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AGMA
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #1 on: Aug 04, 2009, 10:20 am »
A lot depends on the venue and the company.  Is this a school production or by a professional company that usually does Puccini and Verdi pieces, a company that does mostly musicals, a little of everything?  Is it a union house?  Your quickest answers on what to expect will come from your friend who may have worked there before.

EmmaB

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #2 on: Aug 05, 2009, 06:24 am »
It's a small professional company thats performing at an opera festival.
My friend hasn't worked at the fest before. The festival has been going on for years i think, it's in a big studio space.
So it will run like a proper opera if that's what your asking!?

BKrynicki

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AGMA
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #3 on: Aug 05, 2009, 11:44 am »
Typical tech week for an opera could involve 4 evening tech rehearsals give or take: a Piano Tech, a Piano Dress, an Orchestra Tech, and Orchestra (or Final) Dress.  The daytime is generally reserved for a combination of set and lighting work notes (no SM needed) and cuing sessions (writing the light cues).  The cast only shows up to the evening rehearsals.  Often the ASMs are the bodies onstage during the lighting session while the SM, AD, Director are in the house.  The SM has that opportunity to put the cues into her book (unless the LD has been able to provide a cue list in advance - it's not always possible) as they are written.  The SM would also coordinate with the available crew to set the stage properly for each scene that is being lit.  The evening rehearsals with cast tend to be all out efforts to get thru the piece, in the Piano Tech focus on the transitions, skip the arias if there's no blocking as needed to save time.  Scene shifts would be tech-ed during the day as time is available.  There often isn't time to spend on that in the evening - you may only have 3.5 hours minus breaks to get thru a 3 hour opera.....
You should have a good idea by the end of room rehearsals what the tech cues will be and can make preliminary Rail and Deck Sheets.  Also Prop and Costume running paperwork should be done.  Give the paperwork to the various crew heads before their first tech rehearsal so they have an idea what to expect.  Obviously things may change a little or a lot during tech.  If you're prepared with a starting place you'll be in fine shape going into tech.  Also before tech week you can put cues and standbys in your book as much as is known.  More helpful is to put in the Places calls (generally 5 min. before any entrance, not just top of the act), 5 min warns on the ends of acts and major shifts.  If you have rules regarding breaks find the moments within the show when you might be able to, say, give the chorus a break while the long duet scene is going on.

Every company is going to be a little different and hopefully someone at the festival, a production manager, a tech director can tell you how that operation works.
Let me know if you have other questions.
Good luck!

Likes:


BKrynicki

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AGMA
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #4 on: Aug 05, 2009, 11:49 am »
I should add that what I describe is common in American opera companies, I don't know the routines in other countries....anyone?

EmmaB

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #5 on: Aug 05, 2009, 03:49 pm »
Thank you, that's alot of great information!! :)
I'll definately ask the technical and/or production manager when I'm around the festival space.

But as you said on your last note - does anyone know if it differs in England??

ChaCha

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 245
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://www.performinglineswa.org.au
  • Affiliations: Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #6 on: Aug 05, 2009, 08:07 pm »
I would say that opera is one of the most international of art forms and that there will be few differences. The singers, conductors and directors  work all over the world so similarity of process is common.

I'd also add that you should be prepared for the switch in 'power' from the Director to the Conductor the first time the orchestra enters the theatre. From that moment the rehearsals  usually belong to the conductor and the Director cannot stop the rehearsals to fix blocking or whatever (I have seen the director running around onstage during orchestrals pushing people around while the opera just carries on around them - bad pratice though this is.) And usually the conductor isnt going to be too patient if you want to stop rehearsals either - so if you know a major scene change is still not ready to run ( or whatever ) discuss this with the conductor in advance.

Also often the General Rehearsal ( final dress) can have quite a big invited audience.

Be ready to write don everything that happens in the curtain call when they block it late at night in 3 minutes flat - copy it out and give to artists, techs, etc.

Also, I assume you have looked at other posts on the board about opera - probably some useful hints -

Cheers
ChaCha
ChaCha

SMrose

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 228
  • Gender: Female
  • all the world's a stage
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, IATSE
  • Current Gig: Technical Support Services @ Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #7 on: Aug 13, 2009, 10:41 am »
Has anyone seen the PBS special on the development of the stage production/opera of Lord of the Rings in London?  I caught most of it last night.  It takes you through early rehearsals to moving into the theatre through preview night. It goes into depth on all the team collaboration efforts and as a stage manager, I really felt for the SM team when a set cue (this set is unbelievable with many moving parts and moving floor) is called 3 seconds late in rehearsal and throws an entire fight/dance sequence off. 

EmmaB

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #8 on: Aug 17, 2009, 05:35 pm »
Now that sounds like an interesting show!!

Aww i wouldn't like to cue that show eek!

loebtmc

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 1566
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, SAG, AFTRA, SMA
  • Current Gig: Caroling, caroling now we go — and looking for my next gig!
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #9 on: Aug 17, 2009, 06:24 pm »
do you know what it was called? I tried to search for it under PBS and got nowhere with Lord of the Rings (or, I made a really bad search choice and I just didn't see it...?)

thanks

SMrose

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 228
  • Gender: Female
  • all the world's a stage
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, IATSE
  • Current Gig: Technical Support Services @ Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #10 on: Aug 17, 2009, 07:29 pm »
No...I missed about the first 15 minutes so I didn't see the program title.

c45207

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #11 on: Aug 18, 2009, 04:56 am »

GalFriday

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 106
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: IATSE
  • Current Gig: Programmer for Hire
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Opera rehearsals to Opera on stage
« Reply #12 on: Aug 19, 2009, 01:11 am »
OK....hijack of thread alert :)....


Go to your local PBS Station Website and look for the IMAGINE program. Your local station may not be showing it yet. Vegas PBS is not yet showing this episode.
"Now the best way to learn the theater, always, is to be a stage manager" - Stephen Sondheim

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
4394 Views
Last post Nov 07, 2006, 01:46 pm
by operachoe
2 Replies
21419 Views
Last post Oct 26, 2011, 01:55 pm
by NKClaus
2 Replies
1809 Views
Last post May 10, 2013, 08:47 pm
by LCSM

riotous