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OPERA - SUPERNUMERARY MANUAL
Makeup and Wig Calls
Wigs and Makeup
Emergency Contact Info
Important Phone Numbers
Please find the important contact and telephone information listed here.
You are joining a prestigious opera company with a world-class reputation.
Founded in 1922 by Gaetano Merola, the Company has been present in the War
Memorial Opera House since 1932 (except for a brief earthquake retrofit during
the 1990s). Merola led the Company to international prominence until his death
in 1953. The Company presented the leading singers of the day, including Kirsten
Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior, Lawrence Tibbett, Elisabeth Rethberg, Giovanni
Martinelli, Friedrich Schorr and Lily Pons. Kurt Herbert Adler, who ran the
Company until 1981, succeeded Merola. During the Adler years, the company introduced
many celebrated artists to this country, including Renata Tebaldi, Leonie Rysanek,
and Birgit Nilsson. Since that time, we have had only 3 other directors: Terry
McEwan (1981-1988), Lotfi Mansouri (1988-2002) and now, Pamela Rosenberg continues
the legacy. Nearly every great opera singer in the last 80 years has graced
YOU BELONG TO A GREAT TEAM
Now, as a supernumerary, you will be sharing this same stage as these legends.
The San Francisco Opera is a company of many talented artists, including
principal singers, a world-famous chorus, stagehands, dancers, orchestra,
the stage directors, and the technicians and artists responsible for lighting,
scenery and costumes. Your enthusiasm and cooperation are an important part
of this company’s great spirit.
ARRIVE 15 MINUTES EARLY TO REHEARSALS
Rehearsals begin promptly at the appointed time. You are expected to be ready
to go on stage at the time the rehearsal is called. Many of our personnel are
paid on an hourly scale and if you are late, you will put everyone behind schedule
and cost the company money. Please plan to arrive no later than 15 minutes
prior to the scheduled rehearsal time. This enables us to check you in, give
you any new staging notes, pass out your badge, distribute revised schedules
and the like. It also enables you to find parking, get settled, don any appropriate
rehearsLKal attire, etc. It is disruptive and discourteous to your colleagues
to arrive late.
It is mandatory that supers be present for all rehearsals and performances
for which they are called, unless you have been officially excused. Your absence
from even one rehearsal may cause production delays as you learn your staging
and those around you are restaged. In case of illness or emergency, or if you
are running late, please telephone us as soon as possible. If an emergency
arises on the day of a rehearsal or performance, You must contact Carrie Murphy
at (415/551-6281) or phone the Scheduling Department at 415/565-6479 and ask
them to pass along the message. Please make the call yourself, do not ask someone
to call on your behalf unless you are unable to place the call.
MAKEUP & WIG CALLS
Many people depend upon you to make your call time. Do not try to adjust
your call time to suit your schedule. Makeup and dress calls might be an
more before the start time of the performance or rehearsal. If you are late,
then you effectively cause a backlog for the makeup and wig artists. The
result is a rush to get all of the supers, chorus and ballet complete in
curtain. It is not only selfish to be late for your call, but will directly
affect what is seen on stage – our ultimate product.
SIGN-IN AS SOON AS YOU ARRIVE
The sign-in sheet is posted on the Supers’ Call Board in
the Opera House, or in a prominent place for an out-of-house
rehearsal. This is our
of knowing that you are here. These sheets are also used to tabulate your
stipend reimbursement. If you do not sign in, we do not know
that you have made your
call time. In that case, it is likely that an alternate will be put on
in your place. Dressing room assignments and other important
notices will also be posted
on the callboard.
AT REHEARSALS AND PERFORMANCES:
Always wait where stage management personnel can easily locate you
Stay within hearing distance of the stage mangers while the rehearsal is
Respond promptly to your “places” call
Take your assigned prop (if applicable)
Stay in your entrance or preset position, and do not wander off.
Assistant Stage Managers (ASMs) are responsible for making sure everyone
is in the right place and ready to go. If you have a problem and must leave
stage area after you are already in place, please tell the ASM.
Do not pick up or disturb props that are not assigned to you, and never remove
a prop from the stage area. For your safety, clear the backstage area as
quickly and quietly as possible before a set change or large exit of chorus
During rehearsals, the stage managers may ask you to sit in the house auditorium.
Do not use the bridge across the orchestra pit. Please use the door into
the lobby from the stage left hallway. When you are in the auditorium, sit
right side of the house so that we may easily locate you. No food or beverages
are allowed in the auditorium. No costumes are allowed in the auditorium.
No one in body makeup is allowed in the auditorium. Please leave your belongings
in the auditorium or dressing rooms, NOT in the backstage area where they
be confused with a prop. Please do not bring valuables with you.
PLEASE BE PATIENT
We will try to use your time in rehearsal as efficiently as possible, however,
you may wish to bring along a book, knitting, etc. with you. Waiting is an
essential part of preparing a production. You will eventually go on, no matter
how long it seems to take in rehearsal. Once the show moves into performance,
the waiting time is minimized.
It is company policy that visitors, children and pets are not permitted
at either rehearsals or backstage during performances. Additionally, please
not come backstage during a performance or rehearsal for an opera in which
you are not a super.
DRESS REHEARSAL PASSES
Generally, each super may invite ONE GUEST to the final dress rehearsal
of the opera in which they appear (some opera’s final dress rehearsals
will be closed). This is a privilege: please do not abuse it by asking
additional people. Do NOT come to a dress rehearsal for an opera in which
you are not appearing as a super UNLESS you are using a light-walking
volunteer credit. It is not fair to those individuals who have earned the
right to attend these special rehearsals. If you would like to volunteer
as a light-walker
or in some other capacity, see Carrie Murphy for details.
PLEASE BE QUIET BACKSTAGE
When backstage, please talk only if absolutely necessary. The cumulative
sound of many people whispering or talking makes it very difficult for
to work effectively and is unfair to other performers. KNOW YOUR NEXT CALL
The schedule you have received is often very tentative and subject to change.
Before you leave each rehearsal or performance, make sure you know when you
are next called. Rehearsal schedules and call times are posted on the callboards.
You may also telephone 415/565-3200 for a recording of the super rehearsal
schedule for the current week.
It is YOUR responsibility to know your next call. We will not call you unless
there has been a change in the schedule subsequent to your most recent rehearsal.
The director, or assistant director on behalf of the director, according
to the director’s artistic vision, makes all final selections. If you are
selected for a part, please do not reject it because you think it does not
suit you. Having been in a role in a previous production of the opera is no
guarantee that you will be in that role in a new production. In rare circumstances,
the director may overrule our casting choices. The stage director’s
decision is final.
Alternates (also known as “covers”) may be chosen for each
show. Alternates must fit the appropriate age, size and type to fit properly
the costumes. Alternates must attend all rehearsals and performances. There
is no guarantee that an alternate will go onstage in a performance. REIMBURSEMENT
Supers receive a stipend of $10 per dress call, which includes dress rehearsals
plus all performances and $5 per staging rehearsal. Stipend checks are disbursed
at the final performance.
Costume fittings are made by appointment at the San Francisco Opera Costume
Shop, 170 Ninth Street, between Mission and Howard Streets. Fittings may
take anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour. We will arrange an appointment
you. It is important to honor your scheduled fitting. Many people are counting
on you. If you must be late, or reschedule, please telephone as soon as possible.
Call Carrie Murphy (415) 551-6281 or phone the shop directly at (415) 551-6300
if you are unable to reach Carrie in person.
The Wardrobe Department will be in charge of the costume once it comes to
the opera house. For performances and costumed rehearsals, go directly to
assigned dressing room as soon as you have signed in. Dressers will be there
at the appointed call time to help you put on your costume.
DO NOT PUT ON YOUR COSTUME WITHOUT A DRESSER PRESENT. You will have an assigned
dressing table space. Look on the mirror for the costume plot with your name
Please try not to bring things of value with you to the opera house. San
Francisco Opera cannot be responsible for lost or stolen items. Lockers
for your use in the hallways outside the dressing rooms with a designation “Supers.’ Do
not leave items in the lockers overnight.
Your costume must be worn as assigned. A Wardrobe or Costume Supervisor must
approve any proposed changes in a costume. No personal jewelry, including
body piercings, watches or nail polish should be visible while you are in
Glasses must not be worn on stage without the prior approval of the director.
Everyone must wear suitable undergarments for all fittings, rehearsals and
The costumes you will be wearing are hand crafted and very expensive. While
in costume, please do not eat, smoke or drink staining beverages, e.g. coffee,
tea, soda. If you want to eat during a break, please use one of the robes
provided to cover your costume. Please be aware that your costume might become
or soiled if you sit in it while waiting to go on. This will make you look
bad on stage. Ask the wardrobe staff for tips on how to sit in a costume
in the least detrimental way. If your costume needs to be repaired, please
your dresser before leaving the theater.
Due to stringent union contract requirements and potential fines, all performers
should proceed to their dressing room IMMEDIATELY following your final stage
appearance, and change out of your costume. Do not linger for photos or chitchat.
There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule! Violations will result in the opera
company receiving substantial overtime penalties, and your dismissal from
roster. After removing your costume, hang it in the space designated by the
Wardrobe Department. In the case of a quick-change, Dressers will assist
WIGS AND MAKEUP
These requirements are different for each show. Usually, each super will
apply his or her own makeup base using a makeup kit assigned to you individually.
For hygiene reasons, you should not share your base with anyone else. If
run out, notify the makeup staff, who will supply you with more. Proceed
to the makeup room as soon as your base is dry. Wait in line until a makeup
calls you. The artist will know exactly what the makeup requirements are
for the show. You will usually apply your makeup prior to dressing, although
should check with your dresser first. Once the makeup has been applied, do
not attempt to alter it.
The Wig and Makeup Department has rather stringent Health & Safety Guidelines.
They are instructed to sanitize their hands after working on each client. Also,
they are instructed to notify their foreman immediately should any client appear
to have health problems. Health problems are defined to include open wounds
or sores, conjunctivitis, intoxication, lack of personal hygiene (body odor,
dirty hair, head lice, etc.) Please see Carrie Murphy or Gerd Mairandres (415/565-6454)
if you have any such problems to discuss how they may be best resolved to everyone’s
If a wig or facial hair is to be worn with your costume, a notice will be
taped onto the mirror at your dressing station. If you see such a notice
name on it, go to the wig room and ask if your hair needs to be applied before
or after you are in costume, then proceed accordingly. If you are wearing
your own hair and/or facial hair, do not cut it without first checking with
Wig Master, Gerd Mairandres. As soon as you have made your final appearance
onstage, proceed directly to have your wig or facial hair removed. Never
attempt to remove your own wig or facial hair without assistance from the
San Francisco Opera is concerned about your health and safety while volunteering
your services for activities and events. San Francisco Opera works to provide
a safe and healthy environment for all employees as well as volunteers. For
we provide an insurance policy as a secondary policy to your own Medical
Plan for accidents and injuries which may be attributed to your service with
Francisco Opera. This plan may act as a primary plan if you do not have a
Medical Plan of your own.
A summary of the plan is included in this packet.
EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION
You will also find an Emergency Contact Sheet in this packet. This information
is strictly confidential for use in a medical emergency only. IDENTIFICATION
Each super will be issued an identification badge. You should be prepared
to show this badge to the stage door security personnel upon entering the
house. Keep this badge with you at all times when you are in the opera house,
except when in costume.
Do not come backstage during a performance or rehearsal if you are not in
that opera. If you lose the badge, you will be charged $10 to replace it.
Photographs provide you and your fellow supers with wonderful mementos
of your experience. However, please observe common sense and the following
• No photographs may be taken in the communal dressing rooms
• Do not disturb an artist in his or her dressing room to request
• Do not interfere with the needs of the artists or dressers
to carry out a timely costume change
• If you wish to take photos in your costume, please do so prior to your
final appearance on stage
Once you have made your last exit, immediately proceed to your dressing
room and remove your costume. We are governed by very strict union guidelines,
and any delay can result in overtime and/or fines for the company.
Opening and closing nights are generally NOT good times for photographs.
The artists are typically anxious and many last-minute preparations are
underway. On closing nights, the sets and costumes are generally packed
up and transported
as soon as the performance is concluded.
Please do not disturb singers in their dressing rooms. Although not on
stage, a singer may be vocalizing, studying their role or simply relaxing.
impose on their personal time or space. Also, do not snap photos as a
singer is rushing on or off stage. Each show will have an appointed representative
from the Super Committee who will coordinate a time for artist photos.
schedule will be posted on the callboard.
Photographs are never permitted during a rehearsal, whether onstage
or in a rehearsal hall. Tape recording or video recording a rehearsal
is absolutely prohibited. People who are not in the production shall
not take pictures backstage.
If you have any questions about these guidelines, please call Carrie
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS:
Carrie Murphy - Super Coordinator for this season 415/551-6281
Super Hotline for recorded schedule information 415/565-3200
Costume Shop 415/551-6300
Scheduling Office - If you are running late and cannot reach Carrie 415/565-6479
The San Francisco Opera switchboard (Monday - Friday 9am-6pm) 415/861-4008