Did you know that preparing for an opera production takes between 1 and 2 years? Below is a timeline of events leading up to Opening Night:
18 months before - Choice of Opera The Artistic Staff meets (while the current opera is being planned) and chooses the opera for the following season. Many factors are considered when making this choice, including past opera productions, current talent pool, other local opera companies' season, etc.
8 months before - Initial Auditions Pacific Lyric Association publicizes its auditions to our large database of singers, as well as placing notifications in publications and online. Singers are asked to submit videos or 2 contrasting arias (opera solos).
7 months before - Final Round of Auditions Singers who pass the initial audition are asked to attend an in-person audition for a particular role.
6 months before - Cast is Announced Following the final round of auditions (which can take up to one month), the Artistic Staff (Artistic Director, stage director, and Chorus Master) meet to decide on the final cast. PLA' double-casts all of the major roles, to make sure no one singers is overtaxed and that we always have a backup if a singer becomes ill.
4 months before - Production Meetings Begin Production meetings consist of the Artistic Team (Artistic Director, Stage Director, Chorus Master, Set Designer, Costume Designer, Property Master [props]) meeting to discuss the look of the production and timeline. These meeting continue as needed until Opening Night.
3 months before - Initial Costume Fittings Actors are asked to submit measurements to the Costume Designer before meeting with him/her to try on the costumes. The Costume Designer then makes adjustments to the costumes so they are ready to go when the production moves into the theater.
6 weeks before - Music Rehearsals Begin Music rehearsals represent the official start of the opera production process. At least one or two weeks of rehearsals are dedicated to learning the music. This is necessary before turning the cast over to the Stage Director.
4 weeks before - Staging Rehearsals Begin Once music is learned, the Stage Director works with the actors and instructs them on their entrances and exits, where to stand in each scene, and what props they use - all while singing.
2 weeks before - Orchestra Rehearsals Begin In a separate rehearsal space, the conductor rehearses the music with the orchestra.
4 days before - Move into Theater Once all elements have been thoroughly rehearsed in the rehearsal venue, it's time to move into the theater, build the set, prepare the orchestra pit, and move the costumes and props in.
3 days before - Technical Rehearsals Technical rehearsals can at times be tedious, as each technical element (lighting, set changes, etc.) of the production are carefully worked out.
2 days before - Dress Rehearsal #1 After all technical elements have been perfected, we do a final run-thru without stops, just as if an audience is present. 1 day before - Final Dress Rehearsal (Preview Performance) Youth are invited to see the opera, which gives the actors a final chance to test everything before a live audience