Opening night of a concert season is something of a landmark moment, and one likely to have presenters and concertgoers alike on the edge of their seats. The first show of the year acts as a beginning of sorts, setting the tone for the season ahead. And yet, a season opener is also in many ways a culmination of the great work of preparation – the not-always-visible efforts of the myriad people who shape a musical project into its final, public form.
We spoke with some of those behind-the-scenes music professionals whose work is just that – to ensure that each concert of the season, for both audience and performers, happens just the way it should. Opening night, when the houselights go down and the curtain rises, is in fact a very different sort of landmark for each individual involved – and for some, just another day on the job.
What follows are conversations with a cluster of industry experts: the acoustician working on the The Isabel, the hall in the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University; the principal Toronto Symphony Orchestra librarian backstage at Roy Thomson Hall; and two individuals whose sets and surtitles respectively, help give opera in Toronto its visual presence. As each prepares in his own way for the onset of another season, they divulge the secrets of the job and reveal just how crucial that behind-the-scenes clockwork can be.
So, as you enjoy your musical firsts of the upcoming concert season, be sure to keep an eye (or an ear) out for the handiwork of some of these industry experts. While you may not see them onstage under the spotlights, you’ll know just what, at that moment, they might be up to.