Life at Opera in the Ozarks is busy, stimulating and fulfilling. The 2018 season breaks into roughly four weeks of rehearsal and four weeks of performances–7 or 8 performances each of Il barbiere di Siviglia, Die Fledermaus and The Ballad of Baby Doe. Studio Program performances are scattered throughout June and July, at several locations in the NW Arkansas Region.
Important dates 2018
- May 24: Artists arrive
- May 26: rehearsals begin
- Early season events at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
- Studio Program performances begin (approximately June 6)
- June 9: orchestra arrives. Annual “Works in Progress” performance for the orchestra and Eureka Springs Opera Guild
- June 22: 68th Season opens. First performances of Rossini, Strauss Jr., and Baby Doe on 6/22, 6/23 and 6/26 respectively.
- July 1, 8, 15: performances of each production at Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale
- Vocal artist master classes and stage combat workshop TBA
- July 16: OIO Orchestra Chamber Music Concert at the Eureka Springs Auditorium
- July 17: An Evening of (Mostly) Famous Opera Scenes
- July 20: closing night, The Ballad of Baby Doe
There are three daily rehearsal periods of three hours each: morning, afternoon and evening. Each main stage production (X, Y, Z below) will have scheduling priority for one of these periods. The studio production of has its first performance during the second week of June and rehearses in the same rehearsal block as one of the other shows. Coachings, chorus and other rehearsals, costume fittings, etc. are interspersed as needed. The production stage manager assembles the next day’s schedule and is posted by 10:00 P.M. A long-range master calendar is posted on the main bulletin board for reference.
Typical schedule (XYZ blocks rotate to different times every 3-4 days)
7:45 Yoga for Performers (highly recommended)
9:30 – 12:20 Rehearsals/coachings: Opera X has priority in scheduling
1:30 – 2:25 Production Hour. See below. After all shows have opened at the end of June, there are frequent staff-lead sessions on a variety of topics.
2:30 – 5:20 Rehearsals: Opera Y has priority in scheduling
7:00 – 10:00 Rehearsals Opera Z has priority in scheduling
All artists participate in assigned work, supervised by the staff, to assist in preparing our operas for performance: set construction, costumes, props, wigs/makeup, etc. Each day all vocalists participate in Production Hour–an all-hands-on-deck for an hour before the afternoon rehearsal. Artists leave OIO with an appreciation for the technical aspects of opera production.
Rehearsal and practice facilities
The 2017 OIO Company was the first to work in the new Langley Rehearsal Building which houses two rehearsal studios of nearly the same dimensions as our theater stage, restrooms and a stage management office/props storage. The dining hall is a center for study and relaxation, but the orchestra uses one adjacent room for its rehearsals. This building also houses the main coaching studios and small ensemble rehearsal rooms. Other rehearsal spaces include the theater and the basement of the men’s dorm. There are air-conditioned practice cabins, with pianos or electric pianos. After the orchestra members arrive on June 10, our throng swells to nearly 90 people living on campus and all facilities are at a premium.
Our theater was constructed in the 1950s and has seen many additions and changes to it over the years. In 2014 a cooling system was added, making for a much more temperate and enjoyable experience for all.
Robert Swedberg offers his very popular and beneficial Yoga for Performers at 7:45 daily. All are encouraged to make this part of their daily routine. In addition to scheduled rehearsals and coachings, the faculty will occasionally offer sessions on a variety of topics: musical, dramatic, the opera business, stagecraft, diction, etc. These will usually be scheduled to occur right after lunch, after all the productions have opened in June.
Annual opera scenes concert
The Evening of Opera Scenes program will be presented on Tuesday, July 17. The faculty strives to fashion a balanced program, featuring a broad sampling of the summer’s artists.
Guest artist master classes and workshops are scheduled for after our productions have opened. A very valuable and entertaining stage combat workshop is an annual event and will occur early in our session, Saturday, June 3.
Outreach, religious services and civic club engagements
OIO artists are involved in various outreach performances, and church and civic club engagements. Many of the local churches like to feature our singers on Sunday mornings (which are always free of rehearsals).
Artists live in the air-conditioned men and women’s dormitories, two to a room, with communal bathrooms. The living is close, but so are the artistic bonds and friendships developed at Inspiration Point.
With chef Juan Barcenas in the kitchen, we eat like kings and queens at Opera in the Ozarks. Three meals a day, 6.5 days/week are included in the program fees. For vegetarians, vegans and those with special needs, Juan is more than accommodating with creating tasty alternatives.
Other than a weekly day off, during the initial month-long rehearsal process, there is little downtime. However, once all operas and casts have opened there is more opportunity for some swimming in nearby Beaver Lake, canoeing/tubing and trout fishing in the White River, visiting Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge or exploring the beautiful Thorncrown Chapel and beautiful Eureka Springs