That one time I was a Lyric Opera backstage tour guide...
The Lyric's Guild Board hosts backstage tours a couple times a year, I volunteered as a guide recently. Have a look behind the scenes.
Before I go on, let me give you information for upcoming Lyric Opera backstage tours:
- Guild Board Backstage Tours
- Two more dates: March 12, 2017 and April 2, 2017
- Classic Tours are between $45 and $60
- VIP Tours are $150
On with the tour!
How did I end up giving backstage tours, you ask? Simple. I'm a member of the Lyric Young Professionals and I was given the opportunity to lead a tour - naturally I jumped at the chance! Being a part of other people's opera discovery is quite enjoyable to me.
Video captured (quickly) using my #EZVIZ camera
We started in the main lobby, I met my group and started on our merry way. Headed to the box seats on level 2 and met our first lecturer. We learned about the history of the building and the legacy of the Lyric Opera.
Headed down to the orchestra pit next, my favorite part. To sit down in the pit, to look up and see the whole interior of the building from beneath the stage felt like a dream. We had the pleasure of hearing two very different stories from the Lyric's orchestra members. The first was a trumpet player, and a 30-year veteran, the other played the double string bass and a rookie.
The group asked a question, "What's the difference between playing in a symphony vs. an opera?" I thought it was a great question and the veteran answered it perfectly. His answer was, "In the opera, there is a positive transfer of energy..." between the musicians and the performers. And although I can't feel it the way they do, I absolutely feel it when I'm listening from my seats. I might not be able to see them all the time, I certainly feel them EVERY time.
If you'd like to learn more about the Lyric Opera Orchestra, you can visit the Lyric Opera Orchestra Members Facebook Page or their Instagram account @chicago_lyric_opera_orchestra
Lyric Opera Orchestra
The best part of the tour is crossing the catwalk on the sixth floor and heading to the props rooms. There really isn't a good way to take a photo, and you're supposed to keep your phones in your pockets but mine has a handle - it was firmly affixed to my wrist.
Catwalk 6 Stories Backstage
Prop Rooms at the Lyric Opera
Props at the Lyric Opera
After the prop room, we headed to the wig room, make up and the sewing room. The wig room was fascinating. The wig making process is insane in the membrane, insane in the brain. Each wig is made of human hair and there are 1000s of hairs in each one. The wigs are traced to the actor's head, a mold of their head is made, etc. etc. The whole process is so detailed trying to describe it here is an injustice. It's truly fascinating.
Sewing Room at Lyric Opera Chicago
Props demonstration fake blood @ Lyric Opera Backstage Tours
Next we head to back down to the main floor of the stage and chat with the tech lighting guys. Next we enter the stage (see first pic up top).
This is my favorite photo from my backstage tour