The studio workshop on Commercial Street southeast of downtown San Diego keeps the local opera productions going in stride. Backdrops and waysides workers built there that stand on stage, with the lead singing figure in front, make striking a poise in the scene for an outright laugh during Don Pasquale a tough act to beat.
Telling a tall story straight pleases the crowds at the Civic Theater. The San Diego Opera Scenic Studios workers get together to make the scene appear, by cuts and running paint layers. Up to 150 feet wide and 75 feet high, the stage background has fit the bill.
5/4 lumber stock, casters, and rope add up to a real happening.
Audience members have made eyes at the Giuseppe Verdi's Aida soon to show up fresh as a rose in April cut out in a relief made a theater stand out by the scene the arts workers sawed and fastened.
Making a story crossroads for an opera company "on time and on budget" is an enterprising pursuit local sponsors plot out the funding support for. The city's Commission for Arts & Culture and Chula Vista and Encinitas keep theater operations going so thousands of children and adults can make their own theatrical mark. But, the San Diego Opera counts on more dollars given and received. Both J.P. Morgan and American Airlines are major corporate sponsors that continue to contribute loads of money to guarantee the productions are made to measure.
The workshop is a productive place to invest. During the more than 40 years since the set was made for La Boheme's debut at the Ford Theater in Balboa Park in 1965, actors and performers have skirted over more than 50 stages the workshop produced in town, at the Civic Theater and the La Jolla Playhouse and the Gaslamp Theater, operas and California Ballet ballets to look at, and out of town, enough shows were carried on in the workers' scenes to string together a scene total over 100, let alone a scene in Latin America.
G. Allen's workshop talent has almost 150 years professional theater experience to show off.
But, anyone in town can undertake their own scene production without the professional guarantees.
San Diegans can put on their own show with no middleman. They can step into the shoes of an artist, a craftsman, without searching through the shadows in market after market. Looking for the step, the chair, or the paint color that nobody else made a part of their show.
San Diego Opera Scenic Studios sells the supplies and tools that put the production on par, or, so no show gets sandbagged by the costs, rents.
One drop cloth, covered with light handed paint strokes in Rosco Tough Prime or Off Broadway, can make a production fill the world with the dead of night, or the new white sun that shows at noon. The act, and the applause that fills the air at first sight, need no more work.
The line continues next week.
To read earlier articles in Citizen Agenda Action Line on Tuesdays, read
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