Knowing the Score

Monday, 13 July, 2020

Score Reading Course for Stage Managers


Since the outbreak of Covid-19, INO has been looking at new ways to engage with audiences online through projects like the Friday Opera Sessions and Seraglio, the Mini-Series. Behind the scenes, we’ve also been using this time to explore new ideas that can help to develop a national ecosystem for opera in Ireland.

To achieve this goal, we must develop our already strong workforce of operatic professionals, no easy task in an industry that requires such a variety of different people with different skillsets to work together. Whilst INO continues to develop artistic talent through the ABL Aviation Opera Studio, it is equally important that we create opportunities for the technical roles.

The role of a stage manager is fundamental to the smooth running of an opera. During rehearsals, a stage manager is responsible for managing all activity in the rehearsal room and communicating key information clearly to all involved. They must keep track of all the decisions made by the artistic team during the rehearsals and will cue every technical aspect of the production whilst the performance is taking place. Stage mangers working in opera must have considerable music reading skills. During rehearsals, directors and conductors will often refer to the specific points in the score. In performance, cues for entrances or lighting are generally triggered by specific note in the score.

In INO’s new Stage Management Score Reading Course, we’ll be working with a collection of stage managers who are unfamiliar with reading music to teach them the fundamentals of score-reading. The aim of this course is to prepare stage managers with no or limited knowledge of music reading for working on opera productions.

Over the course of six online sessions, participants will work with ABL Aviation Opera Studio conductor, Elaine Kelly and INO’s Company Stage Manager, Paula Tierney, working through a variety of operas, decoding the score and learning which information is relevant and useful for a stage manager in opera. It’s hoped that by the end of the course, participants will have a basic understanding in operatic score-reading, a skill that can open the door to a future career working in opera. This initial pilot course is offered free of charge.