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The Opera Machine

The Opera Machine presents an extraordinary multi-angled view of the intricate theatrical process behind the scenes during a performance. Choose from 17 different camera angles and three different sound mixes or follow the prompt book which is used to cue the technical crew and artists. A flaming helix, trap doors and a two-ton spinning wall feature in this performance of Act III of Wagner’s Die Walküre.

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Theatre plan

Introduction

Presenter Suzy Klein meets Keith Warner, director of this production of Der Ring des Nibelungen and The Royal Opera's Director of Opera Kasper Holten as they explain what Die Walküre is about and introduce you to the staging.

Camera grid

Watch all 17 camera angles simultaneously. Select single camera angles by clicking the relevant part of the grid. Watch all 17 camera angles simultaneously.

Single camera

Select one camera angle or browse through each one using the row of numbered buttons below the video player. Select one camera angle or browse through each one using the drop-down menu below the video player.

Our camera cut

View our video director’s cut of all cameras.

Key Moments

Prompt book

The Deputy Stage Manager (DSM) uses this book throughout the performance. The prompt book button allows you to follow the music and animates to show you specific cues as they occur including lighting (LX), smoke, trap door, flys, artist and flame cues. This feature is available after single camera or our camera cut has been selected.

Audio tracks

Music only: Select this option to watch the videos with a mix of audio from the orchestra and singers only.

Backstage Radios: Select this option to add the backstage radios to the music mix. This will allow you to hear the technical cues as they are called by the Deputy Stage Manager (DSM).

Commentary: Selecting this option will add commentary by presenter Suzy Klein and director of the opera Keith Warner to the mix of music and backstage radios. Suzy and Keith are commentating to our camera cut.

Key moments

The backstage crew are at work throughout this performance, preparing for the next theatrical effect, but we’ve picked out a few key moments for you including a tense moment when the crew encounters a major problem with Bryn Terfel’s hand flame. Clicking on the images below will take you straight to the relevant point in the performance.

0’03’55
Trap door action begins

0’30’00
The two-ton wall spins

1’00’20
Problems with Bryn Terfel’s hand flame

1’08’45
The flaming helix ignites

Credits

Stage Manager
Adam Lawley

Deputy Stage Manager
Sarah Woodward

Assistant Stage Manager
Madeleine Cootes

Hydraulics
Miki Jablkewsk

Lighting Control Operator
Florian Baeumler

Fly Manager
Andy Collett

Pyros
Howard Eaton Lighting Ltd

Presenter
Suzy Klein

 

Director
Keith Warner

Set Designs
Stefanos Lazaridis

Costume Designs
Marie-Jeanne Lecca

Lighting Design
Wolfgang Gobbel

Original Movement Director
Claire Glaskin

Video
Mic Pool

Video
Dick Straker

Associate Set Designer
Matthew Deely

Opera Machine Video Director
Jonathan Haswell

Performers

Conductor
Antonio Pappano

Orchestra
Orchestra of the Royal
Opera House

Siegmund
Simon O'Neill

Sieglinde
Eva-Maria Westbroek

Hunding
John Tomlinson

Wotan
Bryn Terfel

Brunnhilde
Susan Bullock

Fricka
Sarah Connolly

Gerhilde
Alwyn Mellor

 

Ortlinde
Katherine Broderick

Waltraute
Karen Cargill

Schwertleite
Anna Burford

Helmwige
Elisabeth Meister

Siergrune
Sarah Castle

Grimgerde
Clare Shearer

Rossweisse
Madeleine Shaw

Credits

Stage Manager
Adam Lawley

Deputy Stage Manager
Sarah Woodward

Assistant Stage Manager
Madeleine Cootes

Hydraulics
Miki Jablkewsk

Lighting Control Operator
Florian Baeumler

Fly Manager
Andy Collett

Pyros
Howard Eaton Lighting Ltd

Director
Keith Warner

Set Designs
Stefanos Lazaridis

Costume Designs
Marie-Jeanne Lecca

Lighting Design
Wolfgang Gobbel

Original Movement Director
Claire Glaskin

Video
Mic Pool

Video
Dick Straker

Associate Set Designer
Matthew Deely

Opera Machine Video Director
Jonathan Haswell

Performers

Conductor
Antonio Pappano

Orchestra
Orchestra of the Royal
Opera House

Siegmund
Simon O'Neill

Sieglinde
Eva-Maria Westbroek

Hunding
John Tomlinson

Wotan
Bryn Terfel

Brunnhilde
Susan Bullock

Fricka
Sarah Connolly

Gerhilde
Alwyn Mellor

Ortlinde
Katherine Broderick

Waltraute
Karen Cargill

Schwertleite
Anna Burford

Helmwige
Elisabeth Meister

Siergrune
Sarah Castle

Grimgerde
Clare Shearer

Rossweisse
Madeleine Shaw

Troubleshooting

Due to the rich media content of The Opera Machine you will need a good internet connection and a modern browser to get the best experience. A wired internet connection is often more reliable than wi-fi. If you are having problems please update your browser. You can see what browser you are using, and the alternatives here whatbrowser.org. If you are having persistent problems, or have any feedback please contact us.

The people who make it happen

Cast, crew, technicians, musicians and stage managers, come together in an often pressurized, always carefully coordinated way to deliver a live stage performance at the Royal Opera House. Those in the pit and backstage are usually unseen and often unsung. Here’s an outline of some of the key roles.

Stage Manager

Stage Manager

The Stage Manager's job is to coordinate the technical departments and to ensure the safety and well being of the artists and technicians during a performance. Adam, Stage Manager for this production, is the first point of contact when dealing with any issues that may affect the smooth running of the production.

Deputy Stage Manager

Deputy Stage Manager

The DSM is the epicentre of a live performance. Sarah, the Deputy for this production, uses a musical score to give cues to all the relevant technical departments, ensuring the elements of the production come together at exactly the right moment. Follow her score via the prompt book icon.

Assistant Stage Manager

Assistant Stage Manager

An ASM is responsible for the smooth running of the wings (sides of stage) ensuring the props are set correctly and the singers enter the stage at the correct time. During Die Walküre Act III you will see our assistant stage mangers working hard: Maddy cuing and coordinating upstage of and behind the White Wall and Fran under the stage passing up body parts for the dead warriors through the trap doors.

Hydraulics

Hydraulics

The hydraulics operator ‘drives' the hydraulically controlled elements of the production. For Die Walküre Act III, Miki drives the White Wall and all of its components, including its rotating spigot, buggy and the opening and closing of the White Wall door, all in coordination with Stage Management.

Lighting Control

Lighting Control

The Lighting (LX) Control operator cues the lighting for the show. They operate the lighting desk, which has been programmed with all the lighting cues, or ‘looks', for the entire show. On instruction from the DSM they replay the programmed cue, which is timed to happen in coordination with all other aspects of the performance. You'll see these listed in the prompt book as "LX Q"s.

Flys

Flys

The Flys department is responsible for all of the hanging scenery in the performance. During Act III of Die Walküre the White Wall is attached, unseen by the audience, to four suspended point hoists to allow it to fly out in a coup de thêatre at the end of the show, with a seamless transition from it spinning to flying out.

Pyros

Pyros

A specialist theatrical flame effects company was commissioned to create the ring of fire effect as Wotan puts his daughter to sleep, and the moment Wotan appears to pick up the flame (in the opera provided by Loge, God of fire) to set the flames going. The effects are rigged and tested in the interval before Act III. One operator controls the top helix flame from a tower in the wings and the lower flame is controlled from a position inside the fireplace. The stage has two dedicated firemen on hand in case of emergency.

Conductor

Conductor

The conductor is the person responsible for the musical direction of an opera or ballet. Antonio Pappano conducted the orchestra for each performance of Die Walküre, and conducts many of The Royal Opera's other productions. He also plays a crucial role in rehearsals of all productions that he conducts, working on points of musical interpretation with the singers. His and their interpretation of a score will have a vital effect on a production in performance.

Director

Director

The director is the person responsible for the vision for the theatrical aspects of a show. Working with the designers, they come up with a creative interpretation of the opera that makes musical and dramatic sense. They will co-ordinate rehearsals with the singers, actors and technicians.

The Opera Machine was made possible as part of Deloitte Ignite 2013
Recording and orchestral mix by BBC Radio 3