During an opera performance, the orchestra is placed in the orchestra
pit, located below the stage on which the singers perform. There is
room for up to 72 musicians.
The Chorus at L’Opéra de Québec is made up of
between 20 and 60 professional singers, depending on the production.
The control room is where all scenery and lighting changes are cued,
and where instructions are given for movements on or off stage. The
stage manager gives the signal for the start of the performance, the
raising of the curtain, and changes of scenery and lighting. The assistant
stage managers, hidden in the wings on each side of the stage, tell
the performers when to go on stage and give any other cues that are
needed. Everything is carefully timed based on cues in the orchestral
Many months in advance, the artistic director and general administrator
fix the programme for the upcoming season and hire the stage director,
soloists and chorus for each production, besides organizing the rental
or creation of the scenery and costumes needed.
For example, L’Opéra de Québec employs up to 250
people for each production, including singers, musicians,
chorus members, rehearsal pianists,
stage managers, costume designers and makers,
props designers, make-up staff,
hairdressers, dancers, extras,
operators, lighting staff, sound
equipment operators, projectionists, dressers
and administrative staff.
Rehearsals begin three weeks before the first performance. Each group
(chorus, soloists, orchestra) rehearses separately in a rehearsal
room, and then the various performers are gradually brought together
on stage to establish links between the groups. After the pre-dress
rehearsal and the dress rehearsal comes the excitement of Opening
The soloists arrive up to 4 hours before the performance to receive
their makeup and costumes; the chorus members must report to the Grand
Théâtre about one hour before performance time to receive
their makeup and costumes and perform warm-up exercises.
The musicians must arrive 30 minutes before curtain time.