Author Topic: Opera Staff - Assistant Director  (Read 8263 times)

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Opera Staff - Assistant Director
« on: Nov 05, 2006, 02:31 pm »

I'm new to this awesome forum, and have some questions for all those opera SMs out there who have been around the block. 

1.  How often do you have an AD on the production with you? And who does the AD report to?
2.  What level houses hire ADs for productions, and how does one go about finding companies that use ADs?

Thanks for taking the time to indulge me with answers!

Modified by BayAreaSM - content and topic name
« Last Edit: Apr 04, 2011, 09:41 pm by BayAreaSM »


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Re: Opera Staff
« Reply #1 on: Nov 05, 2006, 08:18 pm »

I'm by no means an expert, but I worked at a small opera company that doesn't usually hire ADs- however on one of the productions the director brought his own AD. Just something to keep in mind. Is that what you're interested in doing?


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Re: Opera Staff
« Reply #2 on: Nov 08, 2006, 06:21 am »
There are two different "AD" positions in opera: Assistant Director and Assistant to the Director. You usually won't find either at anything under a level 2 (or B) house. That is, it needs to be a somewhat large and well-funded company in order to even entertain such a position. But at larger houses, yes it is fairly common to have an AD on a production. And the difference can be subtle but profound - an Asst. Dir. is usually an AGMA contract, and takes blocking notes, runs rehearsals, and works extremely closely with the director on the show. The assistant to the director might be more of a personal assistant, and is not on an AGMA contract. But Assistants to the Dir. might also do things like take blocking, run side rehearsals, give notes, etc. It really varies company to company, show to show, director to director. As always, either position ultimately answers to upper management (the General and Artistic Directors, in that order). But their main duty is to the director, and they work primarily to promote and help execute the director's vision. Of course they also work alongside the PSM and follow all applicable union regulations.

Usually, the opera company will only list the AD in a program, not on the website or anything, so you'd usually have to see the show or ask around to learn if an AD worked on this show. Generally ADs get their jobs because they know someone - either a director who likes working with them or a manager at the opera house who knows and likes their directing work. And because the position is used at larger houses, they all search nationally for their ADs (no need really to hire someone from the hometown). So competition can be tough. If you're sending out resumes for a position like this, I would definitely recommend that you include videos of your work and letters of recommendation from the best opera stage directors you know.

As for resumes and cover letters, see the many posts elsewhere on this site (usually there are separate discussions about either) - especially in the Employment forum.