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Who makes an Opera?

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  • Composer: Without the composer to write it, there is no opera. This person creates or helps adapt the story and writes the music.

  • Librettist: The writers who arrange the text of a story to fit the accompanying music.


  • Production and Technical Manager: Coordinates the artistic and technical aspects of opera production; coordinates the lighting, sets and costumes, and the stage managers.

  • Stage Manager: Assists the singers and the technical staff during rehearsals and on stage during performances. He/she has to do many tasks and needs many arms and ‘eyes in the back of his/her head.

  • Set Designer: Plans and designs the sets and scenery; supervises the set construction.

  • Costume Designer: Plans or designs the costumes and supervises their construction.

  • Administrator: Organises all aspects of the company’s work including finance, fundraising and strategic planning.
  • Lighting Designer: Plans or designs the color, intensity and frequency of the light on stage.
  • Properties Master: Designs and oversees all moveable objects that are not part of the set or costumes (i.e. properties or ‘props’).

  • Carpenter: Makes the scenery (in movies they are called ‘grips’).
  • Electrician: Takes care of lighting equipment and helps fit it up. Helps the lighting designer focus the lights.
  • Flyman: Pulls ropes that make scenery and curtains move or ‘fly’
  • Education Officer: Liases with schools to bring the pupils to the theatre and helps to look after students during the day.


  • Director: Handles the action portion of the opera, helps the singers become more effective actors, and shows them how to move and gesture.

  • Choreographer: Creates dances and movements and teaches them to dancers and/or cast members.
  • Music Director: Instructs singers on singing and musical style; leads music rehearsals.
  • DSM, or Deputy Stage Manager: Marks up the vocal score with each move or lighting cue at specific musical points.

  • Chorus Master: If a chorus is required in any particular opera, the Chorus Master is in charge of rehearsing the Chorus in their music, according to the wishes of the Music Director.

  • Repetiteur: Rehearsal Pianist. Takes the place of the orchestra in the rehearsal room. Sometimes called upon to conduct ‘off-stage’ in performance or act as a prompt (someone who helps performers remember their vocal lines.) Also coaches the singers in their music prior to rehearsals.


  • Cast: All the singers and actors who appear on stage.

  • Actors: Performers who have dialogue or significant action, but who do not sing.

  • Dancers: Performers who dance or move to preset patterns.

  • Chorus (Schoolchildren and the audience): A group of singers who mostly sing together; sometimes this group contains actors and dancers who do not sing, but who are part of the group as a whole.


  • Orchestra: The musicians who play the musical instruments that accompany the singers as well as provide instrumental music to set a mood or accompany the action on stage.

  • Conductor: The individual who determines the musical direction of the singers and instrumentalists during the performance by using specific patterns of movement with his or her hands and a conducting stick called a baton.