Jun 4, 2008


Normally I do not have the patience for words that are longer than four syllables. Encyclopedia? Hippopotamus? C'mon, who has the time or the phonics for that crap?

I will make an exception, though, for the artfully cadenced word supernumerary. Love it.

In the film industry, there are extras. In the opera world, there are supernumeraries. (Though most people will shorten it to supers, which I disdain because it sounds like they are superintendents of apartment buildings.) Both are actors without speaking or singing parts who usually appear in crowd scenes.

This is why I think supernumeraries are great: you can be in an opera and not have a whit of vocal talent! Of course, each production has its own criteria for its supernumeraries. An opera could call for a group of small children, a man with a WWF physique, two teenage girls, etc. Sometimes roles also call for particular experience, like dancing, juggling or fire-eating. (Eating fire: always better than eating poultry.) Also, Opera Cleveland, for instance, often rents costumes from other companies, so supernumerary roles may be filled according to the sizes we have. (Hey, Ms. Director of Production, are there any upcoming productions with chicken-sized costumes???)

If you might be interested in being a supernumerary (if just for the fabulous title), Cliff might be able to hook you up. Email him at Wilson@operacleveland.org.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

... and I thought a supernumerary was just someone who could count really well. Thanks for the info, Carl!!