enoa is a European network of opera academies which supports and accompanies artists from the operatic sector – creative artists and performers – in developing their professional careers.
Opera director: a career for you?
with Kristiina Helin
23 - 26 November 2021
The profession of opera director is changing and today an opera director might direct anything from visualised concerts to musicals and performance art. Before an opera director was nearly always a theatre director but nowadays it depends of the focus the director takes. Being a trained theatre director is no longer necessary to be able to direct opera.
An other significant change is that opera directors are more and more involved with producing and bringing in sponsors. Also because of the diversity of the productions, like semi-staged productions, music stage directors have partly been forced to take over other professions like costume, light, set and video design. They have become the chameleon in the field of classical and contemporary music. This new versatility of the profession raises some challenges.
Operatic voices are flirting with jazz music and totally new combinations are in the air. The traditional opera is also still strong and alive and we are embracing the art form, its simplicity and beauty. Old music, traditional instruments and the baroque style of singing have been long gone, but today very much wanted. Digital visualisations have entered the concert halls and opera houses.
In this three-day workshop, participants with experience in the performing arts will learn about the scale and diverse scopes within which a stage director of music works.
The preparation of the opera piece - the entire universe of directing - will be unfolded with examples, starting from the idea “what” is a director and developing the process step by step.
Sharing information of the technical work, working with the score, preparations, difficulties, relationships and timetables. The complexity, the extreme nature of the work, needs a preparation that can last a long time since the preparation for the opera director is a question of safety.
Time will also be dedicated to the questions of equality, diversity and inclusion, as it is an important aspect – both considering the power one director holds and the impact they can have on others, and considering the kind of director one wants to be.
We will discuss the Zeitgeist of our time, especially following the recent pandemic, and consider opera's position in a world concerned with social welfare and climate change.
What kind of a director I want to be? What kind of materials I want to use? Are there alternative ways to replace the old way of producing the piece? What is my place as a director when thinking the collective, the original idea of a theatre play?
Considering the strains and stress which inevitably come with this profession, the question of mental health will also be discussed, as the news aspects of being a director can be challenging in many ways. In the workshop we will look into this also with practical exercises.Workshop sessions will be supported with an abundance of technical examples, stories, slides, videos and the aim is to create the feeling of being in the same room with production colleagues.
Participants will learn about the business side (budgets) and fundraising (sponsors and collaborators) of the music stage director profession, time management, presentation of projects (working with marketing and staff).
Finally, there will be time dedicated to the creative side as well as to the communication with set, light and make-up designers and technicians.