The timeline, for putting an opera production, including dress rehearsals can vary quite a bit depending on factors like the complexity of the opera the scale of the production and the available resources. However here's a general outline of how things unfold;
Pre Production (Months to Years Before Opening Night)
Selection: The opera company chooses which opera they'll be performing and secures the rights.
Casting: Auditions are conducted to find actors for both lead and supporting roles.
Creative Team: The director, conductor, set designer, costume designer and other key members are brought on board.
Design and Planning: The production team starts designing sets, costumes lighting arrangements and sound effects.
Rehearsal Scheduling: A rehearsal schedule is created that takes into account everyone's availability.
Rehearsal Period ( Months Before Opening Night)
Music Rehearsals: Singers and the orchestra start working on the music. They begin with piano rehearsals before moving on to rehearsals with the orchestra.
Blocking and Staging: The director collaborates with the performers to work out their movements on stage (blocking). Their overall performance style (staging).
Technical Rehearsals: Technical aspects, like set changes lighting cues and sound effects are incorporated into rehearsals.
Costume Fittings: Costumes are designed specifically for each cast member. Tailored accordingly.
Dress Rehearsals We conduct dress rehearsals where we wear costumes apply makeup and have the orchestra present. These rehearsals aim to simulate the performance closely as possible.
Production Week (Days Leading Up, to Opening Night)
Final Dress Rehearsal The last dress rehearsal takes place with the cast and orchestra in front of a select audience.
Technical Rehearsals We conduct rehearsals to fine tune all technical aspects of the production.
Stage and Orchestra Rehearsals We rehearse on the stage with the orchestra.
Final Preparations We make last minute adjustments to costumes, sets and lighting if needed.
Tech and Dress Rehearsals This is when we rehearse with all elements in place including set changes lighting cues and special effects.
Performances (Opening Night and Beyond) The opera is performed on scheduled dates with performances, over a few weeks. Performers and production staff continue working to maintain the quality of the production while addressing any issues that may arise.
Strike and Load Out (After the Final Performance) After the final performance we usually disassemble (strike) the set and return any rented equipment or materials (load out).
After the production comes to an end there are a things that happen during the production phase.
Evaluations and debriefings take place where the production team, performers and management discuss what went well and areas that could be improved upon.
Additionally opera companies often start planning for their productions during this time.
It's worth noting that the length of this production period can vary depending on factors such, as the scale of the opera and available resources. Bigger and more intricate productions tend to require preparation periods while smaller companies or simpler operas may have timelines.