Author Topic: Paging Calls in Opera  (Read 821 times)

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BeccaTheSM

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Paging Calls in Opera
« on: May 24, 2017, 03:39 pm »
Hi guys! I've been SMing operas for a while, and I wanted to see what format others use when they page performers to the stage, mostly out of curiosity, since I developed my format on-the-job. Do you include character names in the call, or just the performer's name (as Mr. or Ms. Smith)? What about a children's chorus? What about a few selected children from the children's chorus? Do you call them to the specific side of the stage or merely "to the stage"?

Thanks in advance for everyone's two cents!
Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos. - Stephen Sondheim

Joshua S.

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Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2017, 07:18 pm »
For me, its just the performer name and just to the stage, not to the side of the stage (Mr./Ms. Smith to stage please).  For coro/supers, its usually just paging the group to the stage, as choruses in opera tend to follow the same track, or its broken into male/female/childrens coro.  If, for instance, one member (or a small group) of coro or supers appears separately from the rest of the group, I would call them by name.  As an ASM, around the 2 minute to entrance mark, if the performers I need are not present I ask for a re-page, and then as the stage manager, I would probably include the side of the stage in my re-page, and if it were specific coro or supers missing, they would get a page by name if possible.

BKrynicki

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Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2017, 09:21 am »
Same as Joshua S. said. Additionally, I might occasionally call Places please Principals, Chorus and Supers for the [Banquet/Party Scene/Finale...] if I have little time to speak and if that is a term the performers would be familiar with from rehearsals. Keep it simple.

smejs

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Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2017, 11:40 pm »
Principals and a featured role or two would get "This is a places call for Mr./Mrs. Lastname, please." (And often that sentence is repeated if it's not a tight sequence.) At the two minute if needed as mentioned above, it would be "Again, Mr. Lastname to stage right, please." If it's been an incredibly short rehearsal time, the side of the stage might be important for the preliminary call. Chorus gets called as a group if all of them, supers may get called by joint title, like Fighters or Bagpipers, etc. And I've definitely had a "Places call for the Cart Entrance" (which was a huge group of people and they knew what I meant). Preshow I might call something like a Places call for Act One Starters, making sure people knew who was needed.

Meanwhile, since I do musicals as well as opera, I find it so funny that theatre folks will often get annoyed if called to places too early (especially top of show), yet in opera if we don't see someone two minutes before their entrance, they feel rushed.

LCSM

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Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« Reply #4 on: Jul 11, 2017, 08:29 pm »
My call for principals sounds something like: "Ms. Lastname and Mr. Lastname to stage left; Mr. Otherlastname to stage right, please."x2  I like to specify SL/SR as it can't hurt and doesn't take much time.

When calling groups to the stage (I do a lot of baroque opera, so this tends to be ballet dancers) I like to include a little info about what's coming up, eg. "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ballet to backstage for the Act 2 Passacaille/Angry Demon Scene/Golden Apple Dance/Whatever." If I'm only calling a few dancers or chorus members I'll use last names, like I would for the principals.


Maggie K

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Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« Reply #5 on: Jul 14, 2017, 03:39 pm »
I usually use the performers' names or the group name (Male Chorus, etc.)  However, if the show is double-cast I will then use the character name. 
I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost - it's there and then it's gone. -Maggie Smith

Plabebob

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Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« Reply #6 on: Sep 20, 2017, 10:38 am »
I work in UK opera & I do calls exactly how I do in theatre, which is how most people do them here. We only do a 5 minute during the show & it goes "You call please Miss A & Mr B, Miss A & Mr B your call, thank you".

For department staff I will tell them what it's for & what side of the stage, but performers are expected to know & the ASMs look out for them.

Lizzie

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Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« Reply #7 on: Oct 09, 2017, 06:20 pm »
I work in UK opera & I do calls exactly how I do in theatre, which is how most people do them here. We only do a 5 minute during the show & it goes "You call please Miss A & Mr B, Miss A & Mr B your call, thank you".

The same for me, I also work in UK theatre and opera. It's an accepted thing that 'your call please' is 5 minutes, and "Mr x to the stage please, Mr x to the stage", is 'Where the hell are you, your entrance is in 32 bars'

smejs

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Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« Reply #8 on: Oct 10, 2017, 10:17 am »
I just finished an opera, with people who do more opera than I do. I called "Places for Mr. X" (and sent them a note saying that all my places were 5 minutes). He then told me he was confused whether it was 5 minutes or places....so I started saying "This is your 5 minute Places call"...at which point another singer got confused. ("I'm used to just 'Places'" Yeah, me too.) Sigh. I finally stopped adding the 5 minutes part a few days in....once the one guy seemed to figure it out. Or just said it on HIS calls.

But no, in American theatre, we tend to only give places at the top of each act, not internally after that. And in opera it's 4 or 5 minutes, but in many theatres I've done, it ranges from 1 minute to 3 (often, 2 1/2)...and the actors are upset if called too early (and wander off again if there's the slightest hold), whereas the opera folks panic if they're not there 2 minutes before an entrance.

Erin

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