Author Topic: Opera tips  (Read 31400 times)

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Plabebob

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Re: Opera tips
« Reply #30 on: Feb 15, 2016, 08:35 am »
Hiya, are there any UK stage managers lurking on this thread? I trained at a university which specialises in Opera, but have never heard of WWW paperwork at all. Is that just an American thing or have I just been in a cupboard all this time? I normally do scene breakdowns which say who's on when and have some costume & props details on, but nothing like as comprehensive as the ones people have uploaded as samples.

Also, we call our techs the Sitzprobe, stage and piano, and stage and orchestra.

Edit: Also, curious about people talking about putting 30s timings in. Do you just write the time by the dots? I was never taught to do this & I'm not sure why it would be useful if you can read music well. Does anyone care to elaborate on the uses of having the timings written in? Has anyone got any photos of examples? I can't picture it.
« Last Edit: Feb 15, 2016, 09:15 am by Plabebob »

MitchieSM

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Re: Opera tips
« Reply #31 on: Feb 15, 2016, 04:11 pm »
Not a UK SM here, but one familiar with US Opera SM.

Also, we call our techs the Sitzprobe, stage and piano, and stage and orchestra.

Edit: Also, curious about people talking about putting 30s timings in. Do you just write the time by the dots? I was never taught to do this & I'm not sure why it would be useful if you can read music well. Does anyone care to elaborate on the uses of having the timings written in? Has anyone got any photos of examples? I can't picture it.

That's interesting about the tech names! It's always fun to learn something new :)

As to timings - As someone who does read music well, I still find timings useful. They can take the guess work out of when to make pages for company members. It can also help with split-second decision making backstage - Do I have time to grab a dresser? How close are we to this prop's re-entrance and do we have time to hot glue it back together, or use the backup that the designer really didn't like, but it still hanging around? Being able to look at the amount of time in black and white (as opera timings are pretty close to exact with maestro tempi) can influence the call you make.
For notation, I put the timings directly between the piano systems in blue ink. Others I've worked with put a dot or check between the systems and putting the timing in the side margin so that it can be found easily. I have an opera score around, but would have to look, since it's been awhile since I've been able to keep one. Perhaps someone else can provide a photo?

Plabebob

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Re: Opera tips
« Reply #32 on: Feb 15, 2016, 05:42 pm »
Ah right that makes a lot of sense! I was thinking you were using it to help with blocking or something. I will definitely be stealing this :)

iamchristuffin

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Re: Opera tips
« Reply #33 on: Feb 16, 2016, 11:05 am »
Hi, just finding all your posts!

I do a WWW for every opera I do, and started when working with a US SM! I find it really useful when making Wardrobe Run sheets, and working out how long changes are, where they are, etc. I also find it useful when we're restarting during stage sessions, to work out who's onstage. In the mass of blocking, I find it an easier way to find the pertinent information quickly. Happy to send you a copy if you like?

I also do timings for all the reasons MitchieSM mentioned above! I write the time in a square underneath the system.

C

LexieTaylor

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Re: Opera tips
« Reply #34 on: Feb 16, 2016, 01:10 pm »
Not an Opera SM, but I call ballets from a score, and I find timings helpful.
I will do 30s timings for Act timings and 15s timings for rehearsal tracks if they exist.
This helps with everything stated by other SM's plus makes it easy for me to add in 2 minute or 5 minute warnings for crew as needed.
Also, if we take a rehearsal video of a run through, timings will help me to pull up a specific moment when talking to creatives.

Plabebob

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Re: Opera tips
« Reply #35 on: Feb 18, 2016, 02:47 am »
Hey iamchristuffin I'd love to see a copy if you don't mind pming one. It sounds very similar to want I was taught at uni, but over a few different pieces of paperwork, not all on one sheet.

TechBoothPhantom

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Re: Opera tips
« Reply #36 on: Feb 25, 2016, 09:18 pm »
Whew, I just finished my first full season with an opera company and I would have loved this thread last summer, when I was preparing for my new contract.  Not that I don't love it now...it's solidifying everything I learned this year, and I have a lead on cheap lozenges for next year!

I came into this ASM contract with very very very little knowledge of reading music.  I can follow it, but I'm certainly not proficient at finding where we are if I miss where we're picking up from.  When I'm in production, I practice every day at home with my score and a recording; I practice the entrance cues I have and make sure I can call a potential cue on any measure at all.  Sometimes I write notes to myself in my score ("listen for the bass" or "faster than you think!" or just circling a pattern in a measure that is easier to identify than anything else going on).  I've also found that learning about the composer helps me pick up on musical themes, but that's a longer, on-going process.

7 months later, I'm finishing up my contract with a bit more confidence in what it takes to be a part of an opera, and a whole lot of respect for those who have successfully made the transition from theatre to opera.

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