114 Leakin Hall. The Opera Office and Opera Studio are located right next to each other; the Opera Board is right outside. All information pertinent to Opera Department functions will be posted in this area. In the Opera Office you may find the Academic Coordinator, Catrin Davies, who should be your first resource for most business of the department. Her office hours will be posted; generally 9:30am–5pm Monday, Thursday, and Friday.
The main space used for rehearsals will be the Opera Studio, so please get to know this area well. Due to the large number of productions being put on this season there will often be more than one rehearsal going at once, so look out for alternative sites.
As elsewhere in the neighborhood around Peabody, always be mindful of security issues. If you are rehearsing late at night, consider walking in groups, etc. Never let anyone you do not know or who does not have a Peabody ID follow you through the door. If you have any problems with anyone trying to gain unauthorized entry, contact security immediately at 667-208-6608.
Our on-line location (website) is www.peabodyopera.org. This has now been converted into a site for internal communication only. For a limited time, however, until the entire content can be transferred to the main Peabody website, the old site is still accessible via the ARCHIVE link, where you will find a host of information about the department and its history. However, the new home page gives you access to the weekly schedules, to the various forms for on-line submission of information, the department handbook, and special news such as snow closings.
Diagnostic auditions are required of everybody who wish to participate in any aspect of the Opera program (including classes). These will take place in the afternoons and evenings of Monday, August 28th through Wednesday, August 30st. Callbacks will be held on Friday, September 1. Audition times will be assigned by the department, so that singers from one studio can sing together and be heard by their teacher; times will be emailed to you, posted on the Opera Board, and will also be available to you when you submit your audition information online (see below).
Students will be required to fill out an information form online before their interviews with the Department Chair, and a separate online audition form before coming to the audition. They will not be heard until this has been completed. Forms may be accessed through the FORMS link on all website pages.
For more information regarding the audition process, and the beginning-of-year countdown in general, please visit the Opera website at http://peabodyopera.org/StudentInfo1617.php.
Due to the vast number of collaborators, faculty, guests, and colleagues you will be working with, and the number of performance opportunities, all major rehearsal slots for the opera season are set in advance. An entire cast will not be called to every rehearsal until tech week. However, each cast member is responsible for being fully aware of the specific time commitment required for their role, and for planning accordingly. Sheets detailing the specific rehearsal times for each show are available in the Opera Office; any offer of a role in any show is unofficial until you accept this responsibility. You will be required to sign one of these sheets, which we call the "Advance Schedule", as a contract for your participation in the show.
Each show will have a typical rehearsal pattern laid out in the Advance Schedule, and you will be expected to keep these times free. A limited number of absences from the rehearsals listed in the advance schedule (generally up to two) may be granted during the initial musical and staging rehearsal period. However, there is no limit to the number of release requests that may be submitted that do not affect rehearsals listed on the advance schedule. Note that although properly-submitted requests for release will not be denied without good reason, every release must be specifically approved by the Academic Coordinator.
The “red zone” is displayed in bold face on the advanced schedule. The “red zone” is defined as rehearsal time that is of the utmost importance, and attendance is absolutely required. (In very rare cases, students may be cast who already have one or two conflicts during these periods. A compromise affecting the red zone may be worked out only if the situation is addressed before acceptance of the role.) Excepting the above, no conflicts will be allowed during the “red zone” of any show. Red zones will mostly be in tech and performance weeks. Set up for your church job subs early! If you cannot commit to “red zone” rehearsals you will be released from the role.
At the beginning of the year, you will provide the opera office with up-to-date contact information including your Peabody e-mail address, your cellphone number, and your weekly schedule. As this office is required to process and disseminate large amounts of information to a large number of people, our primary means of communication will be electronic. It is thus necessary for anyone wanting to participate in a production or class to check their Peabody e-mail address at least once a day.
Contact information will be submitted through the FORMS link at the top of any page. You may make changes to this at any time; they will be sent automatically to the Opera Office.
Biographical information, which is needed for the printed programs of our various productions, will also be submitted through the FORMS link. Biographical information is due no later than Friday, September 22.
Your regular weekly schedule should be submitted via the SCHEDULE link. Follow the directions as given on the website and submit the form electronically once it is completed. You will receive a reply e-mail confirming that we have received your schedule.
Changes to your weekly schedule and Release requests will also be handled through the SCHEDULE link. It is your responsibility to update your schedule with any changes that are made to it as soon as possible.
Should you wish to request a release, you must notify the Department Administrator via the on-line form (which is automatically time-stamped) no later than noon on the Tuesday prior to the week to which the request applies. So, for example, any requests for the schedule of the week of October 23 must be in the office by noon on October 17 or they cannot—and will not—be considered. No release requests are accepted for “red zones” in a specific production schedule as described in the previous section.
It should be made very clear that the on-line forms will be the only way to submit any schedule-related information. Do not leave notes in the Opera Office or mention your conflict to a teacher or student worker and expect that it will be taken care of. It is your responsibility to use the channels of communication we have provided.
With the enormous numbers of projects rehearsing simultaneously, it is usually impossible to reschedule rehearsals after the fact, and we expect all students to be considerate of their colleagues who rely upon their contribution at ensemble rehearsals. It wastes everyone’s time when people are not on time or do not show up at all.
The Opera Department publishes a weekly schedule, detailing production events and rehearsals for the coming week. It is developed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the following week and will be posted on the Opera Website and on the Opera Board outside the Opera Studio (LH114) on Thursdays.
The schedule posted on the Opera website (again, accessible through the SCHEDULE link) can be manipulated to display only your personal rehearsals for the coming week. If you enter your name into the schedule box and then bookmark the page that comes up (something like: http://peabodyopera.org/schedule/index.php?artist=yourname), you will be able to access your personal schedule directly each time without going through the site; the scheduling program will automatically supply the latest version.
There are occasionally errors in the schedule, where people are double-scheduled, or a name is omitted by mistake. Should you find an error, please take the responsibility to notify the Department Administrator immediately so that appropriate steps may be taken. This means you must read the schedule on Thursdays when it is distributed. No requests for changes will be honored after 10:00 AM on Friday following the schedule distribution. Consequently, if must miss a rehearsal because you have not notified the office of a schedule error for a conflict you have submitted or forgotten to submit, your grade will be lowered. If a mistake or oversite occurs, new students will be given one exemption. As returning students have had at least a year of experience with the scheduling program, no such leniency will be granted.
Sometimes, as a convenience to you and a guide for us, we will provide you with an advance schedule covering several weeks of a particular show. This is considered subject to change and will be marked as such. This means that even if you have, for example, a schedule listing all of your rehearsals for the final three weeks of rehearsal, you must still report any possible conflicts for times when you are not scheduled, because the progress of rehearsals may require that changes be made. If you have not submitted a possible conflict and an addition needs to made to the schedule, it is still your responsibility to attend.
Ultimately, you are responsible for yourself. You are the one that is hurt the most by missing a rehearsal, and your absence, if unnecessary, shows great disrespect for your profession and your colleagues. If you do not notify the scheduler of a conflict, it will not be accommodated, so over-notify rather than under-notify. Double-check both the posted schedule and own schedule.
Rehearsals and coachings will begin at the time announced. You are expected to arrive at rehearsals well in advance of the scheduled time, to be warmed up vocally and physically and ready to go at the scheduled time.
Lateness to rehearsals will not be tolerated. It is an indication of lack of respect to your colleagues and to the music. This applies to coachings, stagings, classes, costume fittings, orchestra rehearsals, and any other related time commitment. Should you arrive late to rehearsal, an apology will be expected, both to your colleagues and to the faculty. Repeated tardiness will be reflected in your grade or in removal from your role assignment.
There may be times when you are called to a rehearsal, but the director or conductor is not quite ready for you. This is typical in the opera world, as the old adage is true- the muscle most exercised in an opera rehearsal is the gluteus maximus. Every effort will be made to make you aware of any such situations. If in any rehearsal you have been unused for 20 minutes without explanation, please approach the production staff with your question. They will make sure the director is made aware of the situation.
For those of you participating in the chorus program, it is understood by the Ensemble office that you may leave 5 minutes prior to the end of the chorus rehearsal so that you may transit to an opera rehearsal that begins at 4pm. Please use this privilege only as necessary. Remember that the Ensemble office receives a copy of the weekly schedule, so do not attempt to abuse this agreement.
If you arrive more than fifteen minutes late to an individual coaching, the situation will be treated as though you did not show. The hour will be forfeited and will not be rescheduled, without exception.
Coachings cancelled less than 24 hours in advance due to any reason other than illness will not be rescheduled. Repeated cancellation will affect your grade for the production or class in question. Emergencies do arise, and it is the responsibility of each student to carry the appropriate phone numbers in order to notify the opera office, the faculty member, the student coach, or whomever is expecting you for a rehearsal during which you have an emergency and will be unavoidably delayed. The Opera Department number is 667–208–6575 and is equipped with an answering service on the extension, but you must also contact your coach directly, as the office is not staffed at all times. The Opera Office will publish a departmental contact list; use it when you need to speak to specific staff members.
It is the responsibility of each student to prepare music on his or her own. This includes learning notes and rhythm, knowing the meaning of the text without having to refer to the score, and doing research on the dramatic context of each piece of music. Individual coaching may be forfeited if any of the above expectations are not met.
For individual coachings of repertoire other than that currently being rehearsed for a Peabody production, the student is expected to provide an extra copy of music, appropriately taped together or bound, for the pianist.
The contract schedules will give deadlines for the memorization of music for all productions. If you are behind in your learning, it is your responsibility to do whatever extra preparation may be necessary to get the music memorized. For students that do not meet the announced memorization deadline, the highest grade that can be earned is a B.
While a stage director will usually give the blocking of a scene at its first rehearsal, he or she expects to work with artists who have already given some thought to the motivation of their characters and the dramatic possibilities open to them. It is your responsibility to keep an accurate record of everything that happens in rehearsals affecting your character. You are also expected to practice in between rehearsals, taking ownership of the directions you have been given, and working them into your voice, physicality, and character. It is your responsibility to ensure that each rehearsal builds on the foundations of the one before, so that time can be spent on new discovery and exploration, rather than merely reviewing what you have already been given.
Opera Workshop scenes judged by the faculty to fall short of acceptable performance standards will not be performed.
Students should dress appropriately for rehearsal. This means wearing clothing that allows you to move freely and easily, without inappropriate exposure, and that you do not mind getting dirty from the floor. Bring clothing specifically related to your character (for example, long skirts for roles that call for them, pants for pants roles, etc.) when requested to do so. It is expected and required that you obtain and wear character shoes (women) and either character or dress shoes (men) for all staging rehearsals. These can be purchased online, or at Artistic Costumes and Dance Fashions, Inc, in Towson.
It is expected that there will be no cut, color or major re-styling of hair, nor body modifications (tattoos, body piercings, etc.) from first staging
Students are expected to have their scores present at all rehearsals, for making musical or staging notes, or recording changes in words, cuts, etc.
Please be quiet during rehearsals, particularly when large numbers of people are involved. It is disrespectful to the colleagues and faculty members who are working and very difficult to do so when there is an excessive amount of noise. If your disruption persists, you will be asked to leave the rehearsal and your grade lowered.
If you are not immediately required at the staging, please remain in the immediate vicinity of the rehearsal, so that you may be summoned quickly if needed.
In general, all grades for Opera Department activities will be calculated from two components. One component is an assessment from the teacher(s) of the class; this is generally based upon professionalism, rather than talent. The second component is a jury grade from other faculty attending the performance(s); this reflects the quality of the individual’s performance in an absolute sense, without any knowledge of what may have happened “behind the scenes.” The two grades will be communicated separately to the student, but will be averaged for submission to the Registrar.
Performance activities, such as productions of the Opera Theatre, Chamber Opera, and Opera Workshop, will be graded on the basis of 50% for rehearsal, as assessed by the faculty in charge of the production, and 50% for performance, as assessed by other faculty attending the performances. Possible reasons for lowering of the rehearsal portion of the grade include poor preparation for rehearsals, failure to adhere to published deadlines, repeated tardiness, or missed rehearsals (other than those excused through the regular procedures of the department). For students that do not meet the announced memorization deadline, the highest grade that can be earned is a B.
Classroom Activities will generally contain some performance elements which can be graded by visiting faculty. It is up to the individual teacher of each class to determine the number and nature of these informal performances and the proportion of the final grade (generally 25%40%) which is represented by the jury grade. Each individual teacher is responsible for making clear the principles upon which his or her own grading is based.
Students in the POCP program will meet with their coach at the start of each semester to draw up an action plan for the semester ahead. It is their responsibility to come to each coaching with material properly prepared, researched, and translated in accordance with this plan. Arias presented for dramatic coaching should be memorized.
There will be a final exam for POCP each semester. This will take the form of a mock audition, with the students presenting their audition "package." Each student must attend the final exam or fail the class. No exceptions. Additionally, if a student misses 3 POCP coachings during the semester (which comprises 25% of the total coachings), they will also fail the class.
As part of taking on a role, you will be required to sign a contract for the relevant production. The contract will contain a detailed listing of potential call times and defines when the “red zone” begins and how many rehearsals are included in that period. Upon receipt of the contract, please note any conflicts immediately, such as potential auditions (even if you have not formally been called), work conflicts, etc.
Please also remember that it is your responsibility to clear your schedule and make yourself completely available during rehearsals in the “red zone” period. Sometimes the schedule requires that some final rehearsals must overlap with classes and other rehearsals. Notices will be sent by the Academic Dean’s office to your academic professors with a request to excuse you. This excuse is at the discretion of the teachers, so please be respectful and speak with them personally as this is a professional courtesy and not a right. Any work missed during these absences is your responsibility to make up.
In productions that are double cast or single cast with covers, all cast members will be expected to remain in town for the entire duration of the run, and be on Peabody Campus for each performance through curtain time of the last performance, even if it is not your cast. Productions are double-cast in part so that if something were to happen to one cast member, their counterpart would be able to step in. There will be no exceptions to this requirement.
When you sign your contract you commit yourself to provide continually up-to-date contact and schedule information, and to adhere to the scheduling procedures and deadlines as laid out in Sections 4 through 6 above. Not appearing at a rehearsal or coaching without appropriate prior notification will result in the lowering of your grade.
By signing the contract, you also commit yourself to adhere to the expectations on punctuality, musical and dramatic preparation, and rehearsal deportment listed in Sections 7 through 9 above.
Failure to live up to the commitments made when you sign a contract will affect your standing in the Department, and will result in a lowering of your grade. Such situations include, but are not limited to:
Academically, early withdrawals will be treated as a “W” on your transcript. But, as with the published schedule for classes, each contract will stipulate a date (roughly equivalent to the start of staging) after which unexcused withdrawals may earn a grade of “F”.
Cell phone policy in class: Cell phones will be on silent, and stowed away. Non-compliance means forfeiting one’s cell phone until the end of class.
Cell phone policy in rehearsal: Cell phones will be on silent, and stowed away. When you have been called to a rehearsal, your primary responsibility is to that rehearsal. For example, when a person with whom you have been double cast is being directed, you must be alert and pay attention. When not directly involved in a rehearsal to which one has been called, singers are allowed to bring homework/work to do/light reading. However, the student must always be aware of their surroundings and ready to be on stage when called. Students are allowed to check their cell phones on breaks. Non-compliance means forfeiting one’s cell phone until the end of rehearsal.
Finally, a gentle reminder: if in doubt, refer to the golden rule! Your life at Peabody is the start of your career as an adult, musician, and professional. Your reputation for reliability, cooperation, and for being a team player that you establish now will continue to help or hinder you throughout your career. The music world is extremely small; people do talk! Make sure your reputation and recommendations remain faultless.
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