Music Theatre Coordinator
" Bringing solutions, communication and efficiency to theatre making"
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Job and profile description of a new function in theatre making: the artistic assistant of Opera Director and Conductor.
In today’s operatic practice the orchestra pit and the stage are often two different worlds, that have problems communicating with and understanding each other.
This mainly pertains to the communication between the drama and music directors, however also occurs between the choreographer and orchestra, conductor and technical department. The background of the main figures in a production team are nowadays very disparate. Misunderstandings and conflicts are henceforth almost a given. Overall there is a lack of understanding for the requirements and ways of proceeding of the other departments. They speak a different 'language'. This is generally causing dissatisfaction and inefficiency in the process of making a music-theatre production.
From such experiences I have defined the function of Coordinator. It forms a bridge between all parties to prevent misunderstandings and other 'language' issues. A more constructive collaboration of the various departments is being enhanced, leading to an overall improvement of the artistic performance.
Experience has proven a more efficient working environment to be created by one person in the team who:
has knowledge and expertise of every field of the production
shares or partly takes on responsibilities of all the departments
enables constructive communication and provides feedback for all parties
alleviates the collaboration of singers, actors, musicians, technicians, stage manager, conductor and director.
Establishing personal contact between the stage and music directors, already in the predatory phase
Participation in all production team meetings
Participation in all individual rehearsals
Participation in all stage and orchestra rehearsals
Establishing communication between the musical and technical departments during the end rehearsals
Assistance at all technical rehearsals
Feedback for performers, musicians and production team
Vocal coaching (also as part of feedback)
Bodywork (also as part of feedback)
Extra: Contacts with financial business relations
The function of coordinator demands one speaks the 'language' of both the stage/director as of the music/conductor. An outstanding, fully-fledged musical training is therefore prerequisite. One then needs experience with the work on stage as a performer, as well as being a stage and/or musical assistant. Added to this are the important skills of a mediator: to conciliate, balance and clarify communication. A personality that works out solutions, and strives to get the best out of all parties in good harmony.
My professional background:
Musical and singing training
Professional experience as a musician/singer in opera productions
Professional experience as a musician in chamber music and concerts
Professional experience as a singer in chamber choirs and ensembles
Experience as artistic assisitant
Insight in the work of stage director, experience as assistant
Experience in the field of balancing, soundcheck, acoustics
Experience reading full scores, musical consultancy and interpretation
Experience in the field of dance, bodywork and physical awareness on stage
Diplomatic skills, experience in mediating, dispute resolution, negotiation
Empathy and respect for diverse opinions and backgrounds, patience, tenacity
Good language skills (Dutch, German, English, French)
"Mrs. Simone Riksman was introduced to me on the first rehearsal day of the production "Ball im Savoy" by director Tobias Bonn as an accompanying assistant with a special function of a feedback for the performing singer on stage. This function is not new to me. In my 25 years of stage experience I was able to experience this practice positively at the beginning of my career. Unfortunately this fell asleep. All the more I welcome the work of an experienced singer personality, as Mrs. Simone Riksman proved to be.
Especially her excellent hearing, her enormous ability to concentrate, and the knowledge of the hurdles a singer has to overcome during a scenic elaboration, in addition to the tactful handling in connection with the musical and scenic direction, distinguishes Mrs. Simone Riksman. Her great personality, which is behind a friendly appearance, generates trust.
In times of budget cuts, this function is not only important for singers with little stage experience. It would be gratifying if Simone Riksman would also accompany other productions at stage houses in this function. It promotes understanding and health between the different levels of a production and ensures a better result". Anke Berndt - Sängerin der Hauptpartie 'Madeleine de Faublas'
"Simone Riksman was a very competent production assistant in the area of dramaturgy, personal assistant to the director and an ideal link between director, set and singers in our production " Ball im Savoy.
Due to her sensitive personality she was able to bring calm and level-headedness into many a communication between the different disciplines, especially in conflict situations. She was able to strengthen the back of the director, who is trained primarily in acting, in terms of content, especially in the subject of opera, and in dealing with singers. She is a very good sparring partner in terms of content and aesthetic questions, as well as problem solving in an opera production and an excellent balancing element.” Stephan Prattes Stage Designer