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Subject: Re: Old fashioned prompters
From: John Greiner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Thu, 17 May 2018 20:37:52 -0400
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Washington Opera used to have a prompter (a woman who was not credited) who was INCREDIBLY loud.  

The first time I came across her was at a performance of Die Fledermaus with June Anderson in Constitution Hall when the KC Opera house was being rehabbed.  This was the year after 9/11, and they were having trouble getting in non-USA based singers, including Irina Arichkipova (sp) who sang Orlofsky.  She (Arichkipova) didn't know any of the words at all, and evening sitting way up top (in a place that seats about 3,500) you could hear the prompter feed every line to her.  This was actually televised at a later date, but the prompting was so loud they had to edit Orlofsky's aria down to a single verse at considerable trouble and expense.  I was surprised they even decided to televise it given the prompter's volum and interference.  I kind of/sort of "forgave" the prompter due to the troubles getting the singers in (the Adele never did get approved to enter the U.S., they had to use a last minute substitute) but it was a major problem.

The woman in question prompted at various operas through the years, the last time I heard her was at a Tosca with Sylvie Valerie and Licitra, where she screamed the staged directions, including during the music after Tosca has killed Scarpia.  Really ruined a number of performances.  (And in the later case, I was in the very, very last row of the orchestra and could hear her there.)

Best,

John Greiner



-----Original Message-----
From: kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wed, May 16, 2018 10:21 pm
Subject: Re: Old fashioned prompters

Many years ago, in my youth, I was walking to the parking lot with my date following a Lyric Opera performance of La Boheme. As we were discussing the performance, I asked her if she had been as aware of the prompter’s calling out cues as I was. A gentleman who was a few steps ahead of us turned and asked where our seats had been. Second balcony, I said. “You heard me all the way up there?” he replied!

Kurt Youngmann


“The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post ‘Thou shalt not steal,' 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' and 'Thou shalt not lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.” - George Carlin


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