Friday, February 1, 2013

Previously in California...

Hello, Chicago Opera Theater Fans!

This is Terry Harper, your new Director of Production for COT. I am writing you today to tell you about my most recent trip to Long Beach California to watch the last couple of dress rehearsals of our co-production of The Fall of the House of Usher, with Long Beach Opera.

There is always time to pose for a publicity shot! 

First I would like to tell you why opera companies enter into co-productions. These agreements allow each company to be able to present a new production for a fraction of the cost of going it alone. The Usher agreement is between two companies, so both of those companies share the costs of building the scenery, building the costumes, and building the props. After it's all said and done, each company gets the opportunity to showcase the piece as a brand new production at half the cost. I have been a part of co-productions in the past that have had as many as 10 different companies involved. In this case, each company gets a multi-million dollar production for one tenth the price.

A slight addition to this agreement with Long Beach Opera and one of the advantages of having a General Director that leads both companies is that we have cast the same principle singers in both productions. A couple weeks after the show closes in California, all of the same singers will come to Chicago to perform in our production here. This allows for much less hotel nights to pay for, much less perdium, and much less rehearsal time. After all, as many of you know, TIME IS MONEY!

Taking a moment after Tech Rehearsal
One of the other cool things that will save us money is that we are using the same Lighting Designer here in Chicago, an old and dear friend of mine, David Jacques. David has planned his design so that we will hang the exact same lighting plot, and use the exact same lighting cues. We will basically load the same computer show file into our lighting computer at the Harris Theater. This will greatly reduce VERY EXPENSIVE light time that we would normally have to do if we were starting from scratch. Less time in the theater means MONEY SAVED! I have often compared time in the theater to .... THE MOST EXPENSIVE REHEARSAL HALL IN THE WORLD!

Now, back to the whole reason I am writing this blog... The reason was worth the money to send me to Long Beach to see this process, is to save EVEN MORE MONEY! I was able to watch the rehearsals in Long Beach and see any possible problems that it may cause in our theater in Chicago. I have brought back valuable information and pictures/vide to our Stage Manager, our Wardrobe Supervisor, our Wig/makeup Supervisor, and any information that our front of house staff needs to be prepared for. Any information that can save us money in Chicago will be very helpful. In closing, I would like to say that the production looks great, and I can't wait to get it our stage at the Harris and make it our own.

I am excited to see you at the Opera and share this production with you!

Terry Harper
Director of Production
Chicago Opera Theater

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