Author Topic: Opera Intern  (Read 2042 times)

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Opera Intern
« on: Apr 29, 2015, 11:42 am »

I have just graduated with my Technical Theatre degree a year ago and I have just obtained an ASM intern job at Opera Theatre St. Louis and I am super excited but really nervous because I do not wait to fail. I have worked for this company 2 years prior to getting this job but it was just as a backstage hand.

I know I am a very good Stage Manager but I have never done operas before. Just straight plays and musicals. I know how to read music and all the other basic SM things, however, are there any tips? What else should I prepare for? I want to come in and be ready to go rather than playing catchup.

I have already tabbed all the important scenes and arias. I have also learned how to to 15' - 30' timings and put those down in my scores? Is there anything else?

And then one last question, since I am the intern, I am in charge of costumes. I have honestly never really worked closely with costumes when I was in school, the shop manager I used to work with sort of did most of the work which know I really wishing she did not. Is there a secret way to prepare myself for what rehearsal costumes I will need?

I know I am asking really basic questions but I think I am just freaking myself out since I have never done this before and this is my first professional job out of college.

Any advice will help!


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Re: Opera Intern
« Reply #1 on: Apr 29, 2015, 01:11 pm »
Congrats on your first job! There are a lot of great posts on this thread- check it out, if you haven't already.

Check in with your SM about any cuts to the score- they will affect your timings. Usually these are decided before rehearsals begin.

It sounds like you have familiarized yourself with the score by doing your tabs, which is great. If you can tell from the score when certain singers enter, I'd pencil it in, even if it's just an approximation that is adjusted in rehearsal. It's helpful to know this so that you can make sure they are ready when you are approaching their scene. Anything you can do to make yourself familiar with the score will help you- I will listen to it in the car on the way to rehearsal.

Will you be in during "prep week"? That's a great time to familiarize yourself with the costumes, and figure out which rehearsal items are needed. Shoes, skirts, and jackets are always helpful, as well as any items like hats or gloves that may be taken on or off. Be prepared to hand off these items in rehearsal, including things like rehearsal skirts- they are more likely to use them if you have them ready.

Get to know the costume shop staff- they will be an invaluable resource for you.

One thing I have found helpful is to figure out how far into the opera each character's first entrance is. If Characters A-L are onstage at the top of show, and Characters M-P don't enter for 45min, the dressers can prioritize the earlier entrances when helping folks get ready.

If you're an ASM that will be cueing entrances, once entrances are set, put a 5 minute and 2 minute "warning" for each entrance in your book. If the singer is not there when they should be, this will give you a few minutes to figure out where they are, have the SM page them to backstage, or (if all else fails) run back to the dressing room to get them.

Don't freak out- I'm sure you'll do great. :) Ask questions- your PSM can give you the best information about what they expect from you and what you can do to prepare. Best of luck!


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Re: Opera Intern
« Reply #2 on: Apr 29, 2015, 08:52 pm »
Are you doing anything with the Spring Sing at OTSL? I'm a high school student who asked to shadow at opera theater. They also asked me to tag along and help out stage managing on Saturday for the Spring Sing. I just thought that this is kind of a cool coincidence. Depending on when you're starting, I might actually be shadowing you at some point! :D