Author Topic: Summer Opera Jobs  (Read 2898 times)

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SM101

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Summer Opera Jobs
« on: Mar 06, 2008, 08:42 pm »
Hi. How much do stage managers make during summer festivals? I'm trying to figure out if my offer is normal or on the low end, but I'm also not comfortable advertising it.

Thank you!

ljh007

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Re: Summer Opera Jobs
« Reply #1 on: Mar 06, 2008, 11:33 pm »
Summer opera pay varies enormously, and depends on a lot of things: the size of the company, the location (Hawaii can pay less because - duh - they're in Hawaii and you sure do want to go work there), the reputation of the program. Two other major factors are whether housing and/or travel are included for you, and this is something that is entirely negotiable. Really, summer operas should pay comparably to any other opera gig in the main season. Okay, maybe a little less. Ok ok ok, you want a very rough number? I would say $700/week is fair (maybe slightly less for ASMing), and travel and housing should be included. But that number barely counts because it really just depends on so very many factors.

On the other hand, summer opera gigs are highly coveted, because a lot of season staff will try to pick up a summer gig while their main theatre is dark. There are also only so many summer festivals/performances, so they really have their pick of the litter in terms of hiring and even casting.

But if you're working with an excellent program, making contacts, doing great work, enjoying a wonderful city, it might not be a bad thing to take a lower paying gig. Especially in opera - a field where many SMs are always trying to pick up more experience.

One word of caution about summer operas, though: Ask around and do your homework on the company. Know what you're getting into. While some are pure gold and most are wonderfully enjoyable, many are a bit more slap dash and it's the SM who can often pay for it. Sometimes the SM is asked to do everything including: leading the load-in, chauffering singers, organizing receptions, picking up extra concerts/events (maybe or maybe not for additional pay), acting as a fill-in carpenter, and many other trials. The theatre might have great equipment, or you might need to buy your own gaff tape and use your cell phone as a makeshift headset to your ASM. So just ask and be sure you know ahead of time what the deal will be for you. And then have fun!

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