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Subject: Re: Old fashioned prompters
From: Paul Ricchi <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Paul Ricchi <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 17 May 2018 05:10:06 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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In the Mexico City performance that GPP refers to, I recall that the
conspicuous promoter goes away in the last act and the performance suffers.

I see the promoter as the link between the podium and the stage, they also
give more than rhythmic word cues, they often point as well.

The promoter can also be a lifeline for singers. Notice how many singers,
after a silent entrance will make a quick glance at the prompter’s box just
to make sure it is occupied.

On Wed, May 16, 2018 at 3:05 PM G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Mr. Kubiak asks:
>
> "Have people ever wondered about/discussed how singers managed to main
> maintain their dramatic characterizations with all this distracting
> talking comi
> coming at them constantly?"
>
> * * * * * * *
>
> In the live Mexico City Rigoletto with Gobbi/Callas, the prompter is
> almost
> comically loud – in a monotone he speaks:
>
> Prompter:  Gualtier
> Callas/Gilda:  Gualtier
> Prompter: Malde
> Callas/Gilda: Malde
> Prompter: Gualtier
> Callas/Gilda: Gualtier
> Prompter: Malde
> Callas/Gilda: Malde
>
> Actually, as someone who's been onstage a good bit I can say while
> prompting may be a distraction on a broadcast to the listener, it's not
> nearly the distraction to a singer one might think.  There are often all
> sorts
> of sounds/noises onstage that the audience will not pick up; sounds,
> talking  (even if masquerading as "whispering" ) from the wings, cast
> members helping each other with myriad types of cues, and all sorts of
> other things happening on stage that are (generally) unheard and covered
> by the music flowing out into the house.
>
> Opera singers are privy to even more "noise" during rehearsals when,
> trying to sing, they are given instructions in voices louder than any
> prompter ever you'll hear on a broadcast, and told: move to the table, go
> towards the divan, pull out the knife NOW, drop the handkerchief HERE,
> fall
> to your knees NOW, don't cross that line . . . and on and on.  A singer
> must
> know a role COLD and be comfortable and confident that anything that
> happens is not going to disrupt him/her from executing the music precisely
> as w
> as written (or, at least, conducted.)  One must be able to hear direction,
> receive audible cues and not botch up the musical performance.  By the
> time of performance, a prompter's audible help isn't the distraction it
> might ot
> otherwise seem from the sound on a radio broadcast, and (often) with
> everything else going on, it may be just the jolt of help for a singer to
> get
> back on course when something else - not privy to us - might prove a
> distraction.
>
> My guess is that most regional U.S. companies don't have prompter boxes as
> as the cast is relatively uniform throughout the course of a run . . . not
> mu
> much changes once a show is "set."   A difference may be that major  in
> international houses, e.g., The Met, often have cast members who may not
> sing more than a performance or two with each other, and a prompter can
> be the glue that holds everyone - and the whole thing - together.
>
> I don't fret at the sound of a prompter listening to a radio broadcast.
> Actually, when attending live performances, I'm generally more upset at
> audience members talking, the odd cell phone going off, excessive
> coughing, fidgeting, over-perfuming, late arrivals, program rustlers,
> cough
> drop unwrappers, the guy who snores and the occasional fart than I am at
> a firm voiced prompter.
>
> p.
>
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