Summertime At The Opera: What Are We Up To? — Part II

A few weeks ago, we talked about what our staff is up to during the breezy summer months at LA Opera. With the stage dark until September, the team is hard at work getting things in order for the 2018/19 season.

LA Opera's 2015 production of Pagliacci (Photo: Craig T. Mathew/LA Opera)

LA Opera’s 2015 production of Pagliacci (Photo: Craig T. Mathew/LA Opera)

We’ve already talked with members of our PR/Marketing and Education and Community Engagement departments about the prep for Opera Camp and our social initiatives. And though there’s a lot of housekeeping to take care of until the fall, there is still plenty of prep to be done, including getting ready for our annual simulcast (this year at El Cariso Community Regional Park in Sylmar on Saturday, Sept. 22.)

Our staff in the Production and Technical departments recently gave us the lowdown as to what they’re doing over the summer to bring everything together on the stage.

Nicki Harper, Company Manager, said that it’s mostly administrative work for the Production staff during the summer.

“We are prepping for the fall season shows and the arrivals of artists, so booking flights, arranging housing and preparing visas for the international artists,” Harper said. “We’ve already cast a majority of the principal soloists for next season, so now it’s just a matter of making sure they arrive safely and comfortably.”

Nadine Bedrossian, Manager of Chorus, Dancers and Supernumeraries, said the production team is already casting supernumeraries (otherwise known as “extras” but for the opera stage) for our productions through December. Given the large sizes of many of our productions, we need to hire extra bodies to fill the stage.

“The supernumeraries for Don Carlo have already been cast and have already had their costume fittings. We are currently hiring dancers and supers for Hansel and Gretel, which is our third mainstage show of the season,” said Bedrossian. “The costumes are these mystical, elaborate garments that sometimes involve two people to operate.”

Don Carlo (2005); Photo: Robert Millard

LA Opera’s Don Carlo (2005); (Photo: Robert Millard)

To the sides of the stage, Technical Director Jeff Kleeman explained the elaborate plans his department is executing while the house is dark.

“We are dusting off Don Carlo, which is a revival, but we have new and different props. There are some adjustments to the costume designs, and we have a different lighting designer, Rick Fisher.”

Kleeman then went into detail about plans for our next two productions in the fall Glass’ Satyagraha and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

Satyagraha is a pretty spectacular undertaking, so we’re doing a lot of preparation this summer for that,” Kleeman stated. “We are renting the production from English National Opera, and there are a lot of complexities to it, much like Akhnaten, which we did two seasons ago. The set pieces for it are extremely detailed and required weeks of preparation.”

Though Satyagraha has its own challenges, Kleeman noted that it is Hansel and Gretel that is the most labor intensive project that the tech department is working on.

“Although it’s a revival, Hansel and Gretel has all new media and projections, which are extensive. We’ve already been working on those for two months, and we’ll be working on those continuously through opening night,” Kleeman went on to say. “In fact, we have two people working on all of the new media. There are new scenic pieces and prop pieces and costumes. It is more of a re-do than a revival.”

Want to know what else we’re planning? Stay tuned for more posts about what the LA Opera team is working on before the season opens with Verdi’s Don Carlo on Saturday, Sept. 22!

For more information or to purchase tickets to our 2018/19 season, click here.

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