During an opera performance, the orchestra is located in the pit, meaning below the stage and under the singers. It can include up to 72 musicians.
The Chœur de l’Opéra de Québec is composed of professional singers. The size of the chorus varies according to the opera (usually from 20 to 60).
THE CONTROL ROOM (LE RÉGIE)
This is where all of the sets and lights are controlled, and all of the entrance and exit instructions are given. The stage manager signals the start of the performance, raises the curtain, changes the lighting and sets. The assistant stagehands, hidden on both sides of the stage (backstage) instruct the soloists or other performers to make their entrances. Everything is timed to the second, according to the score of the opera.
Months in advance, the general and artistic directors prepare the programming and see to hiring the director, soloists and chorus members, renting or making the sets and costumes.
Remember that the Opéra de Québec employs up to 250 people per production among whom are: singers, musicians, chorus members, rehearsal pianist, stagehands, dressers, props people, make-up artists, hairdressers, dancers, extras, machinists, lighting technicians, sound technicians, projectionists, dressers and administrative staff.
Three weeks before opening, rehearsals begin. Each group (chorus, soloists, orchestra) work separately in rehearsal rooms, then all the groups gradually come together on the stage when all of the interrelationships between the groups have been established. Then there is a pre-dress rehearsal, a dress rehearsal, and finally it’s opening night!
The soloists arrive up to 4 hours in advance of the performance for their make-up and costumes; the chorus members must be at the Grand Théâtre about an hour before to have their make-up done, put on their costumes and warm up their voices.
The musicians must be on site 30 minutes before the curtain rises.