The stage managers are like the conductors of the backstage area; they coordinate everything that happens there during rehearsals and performances. The stagehands, singers, dressers, prop technicians, orchestra conductor, and front-of-house manager are all in constant contact with the stage managers.
The role of the stage manager is to coordinate the artistic and technical aspects.T.D., Head of Stage Management
There are often three stage managers backstage. The Deputy Stage Manager gives the “cues” and makes the calls over the microphone (calls to artists in the green rooms, communications with the conductor, calling the cues for technical manoeuvres) and follows the cue sheetCue sheet - A list, including timings, of all onstage changes, changes in lighting and scenery, and singers’ entrances. It is compiled by the stage managers based on the score. carefully; the two other Assistant Stage Managers supervise the artists’ entrances onstage; and the Production Stage Manager coordinates everything.
Do things sometimes not go as planned or rehearsed? Yes, because opera is above all a live art.
We always have a plan B.T.D., stage manager
It’s the dress rehearsal. The teams are ready to rehearse Frankenstein one last time before the premiere.
The prompt book is a cue sheet that is compiled over the course of the rehearsals. Everything in it is timed with extreme precision.
The cues for MANOEUVRES are for the stagehands. The cues for SOUNDS and EFFECTS are the signals to launch sounds, lights, and video projections.
These cues are all detailed in a score that is compiled, then followed carefully, by the Deputy Stage Manager.
Backstage, the break is shorter than it is for the audience: everything must be prepared for the rest of the show.
“The services” or worklights are left on backstage during the break but turned off during the show, when they are replaced with less visible blue lights
The Deputy Stage Manager is also responsible for making the calls to artists to make their entrances. Here, Topi Lehtipuu, the tenor who played the creature in Frankenstein, is about to make his entrance following the intermission.
Communication with the Orchestra Operations Manager responsible for the pit and the musicians is essential.
The orchestra is tuned…
The cue is given.
The conductor enters the pit.
The audience applauds.
The show starts up again.
The conductor is now the master of the music and thus of the timing. A green light signals to the conductor that everything is ready to begin. If a problem arises onstage, the conductor is notified of it by a red light.
The Deputy Stage Manager watches the conductor in the pit via a video monitor and follows the course of the music.
The prop technicians are responsible for special effects. Working closely with the scenic designer and/or the director, they find inventive solutions in order to guarantee safety and produce the desired effects.
Fire is activated using a gas installation below the stage.
The stage managers also have to be extremely attentive to safety, especially when the singers are on mobile sets. Everything is constantly checked and monitored.
To make snow fall evenly, two bags of snow are attached to two fly bars above the stage, programmed by the fly operators to knock against each other.
The lights also contribute and help to produce the best possible visual impact.
When the show is over, the work of the stage managers is not done yet! Before the curtain comes down, there are still several more cues to be given…
The stage is prepared for the curtain calls.
“Green light – jardin” / “green light – cour”
COUR = stage left / JARDIN = stage right
The block in the middle of stage is attached and prepared to be raised to allow enough space for the chorus during the curtain call.
The cues for the curtain calls are rehearsed and planned and given by the stage managers backstage.