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Walking in the Light

Lightwalking is a valuable way to contribute to SFOpera productions.

Lightwalkers stand, squat or sit onstage in lieu of performers for three or four hours while directors and lighting designers finesse visual effects, and on occasion staging ideas and choreography, using real, live dolls. There is no substitute for the reflective properties of flesh and blood.

Lightwalkers receive direction from the darkened house and, in response, move around the set like pieces on a chessboard. Understanding the terms stage left, stage right, upstage, and downstage and having an infinite reservoir of patience are the only requirements for a healthy lightwalking experience.

A vigorous imagination provides amusement while you wait for cues from the creative team. Give free rein to operatic fantasies while you stand obediently in the spotlight. Be a Surrogate Salome, Stand-in Siegfried or Doppelgänger Don Giovanni. Trod the boards upon which your heroes and heroines pose, warble, flop, and caress. Relish in your heart of hearts the fact that you are standing in lights that beam upon the likes of Fleming, Domingo, and Ramey.

In bocca al lupo! And no snoring!

~ Lynn Meinhardt

Aside from being a great asset to the technical and production staff, Lightwalkers earn credits that may be used to attend dress rehearsals (on occasion, dress rehearsals may be closed to anyone but production staff). Each lightwalking session attended is worth one credit. After two credits, Lightwalkers have earned enough credits to attend one dress rehearsal. Credits are non-transferable, so only the Lightwalker him/herself may cash in the credits.

The dress rehearsal dates are posted on the member's page and on the Lightwalker/Super sign-in board, which is located down the hall from the North Stage Door guard station. (The dates are posted only during opera season.) When two credits have been earned, send me an email at or leave a message at (415) 551-6281 (email preferred) and let me know you want to attend. During some busy times of the year, I may not be able to confirm that I've received your request to attend, but please assume that your message has been received, and that you have been added to the list. The list is normally located at the North Carriage Entrance of the Opera House, which is where Lightwalkers should enter for a dress rehearsal. Please do not attend a dress rehearsal unless you have notified me that you are attending.

In the past Lightwalkers who put in enough hours have been invited to the Volunteer Appreciation Party, which is held during the fall. This has slipped through the cracks for the past few seasons, so I will be reinstituting that benefit. I'm going to attempt to be more conscientious about putting the sign-in sheets on the board, so please be sure to sign in when you arrive for your lightwalking session. The number of hours one has to volunteer to be invited to the party is yet to be determined, but I will announce that at a later date.

Thank you for your continuing help with lighting rehearsals. Everyone from the lighting crew to production staff to me appreciates the time you donate; especially because we see how much schedule flexibility you repeatedly demonstrate. San Francisco Opera is very lucky to have such a dedicated corps of Lightwalkers.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Best wishes,

April Busch
Super Coordinator