Many people may not know this, but the Lyric Opera of Kansas City is a very unique company in that we have our own scene shop to build scenery. Many companies are forced to rely primarily on renting scenery. In doing so, you lose a certain amount of artistic control of what you choose to put onstage. In a typical season, we will design and build 1-2 new productions. This past season, both Carmen and The Marriage of Figaro were new productions. Beyond having artistic control over a production, sometimes we will choose to build a new production that we think other companies will be interested in renting, and that generates revenue for our company. For example, in the 2011-2012 season, you could see our production of Carmen at Seattle Opera, La Cenerentola at Madison Opera, and Tosca at Lyric Opera Ottawa in Canada. Yes, we are an international company!!!
Of course, all this scenery needs to be stored somewhere. In the past, our scenery was stored in an old school down in the East Bottoms that also housed our scene shop. Despite its sketchy location it worked just fine until last summer when part of the roof caved in and water starting leaking into the building. So, we had to move all of our valuable scenery to different buildings. The majority of it was stored in our Production Center. This past week, our local IATSE Stage Crew has cleared all of this scenery out of the Production Center so construction can begin on Monday.
Where our scenery should be stored was a significant point of discussion in planning the design of the Production Center and the Administrative Offices. The final design of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City Opera Center Complex includes our scenery being stored right next to the Production Center, enabling us to rehearse on actual scenery pieces before the artists move to the stage of the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Again I say, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City is a very unique company to be able to do so.
Next week’s story – you know the opera needs musicians in the orchestra pit, correct? Well, what else goes into getting an opera company musically prepared?