Feb 26, 2009

Arsonist/Fire Fighter

It's been a while since I followed someone around for a day, perpetually sticking my beak into their work. But I convinced Laura Kuenen-Poper, our Manager of Education and Community Development and the orchestra personnel manager, to let me shadow her this morning.

Laura starts her day at the opera at 7:45 a.m. She normally has strict instructions to be quiet and not rouse me from my coop. (Not all roosters get up early, let me tell you.) But today I begrudgingly obliged her wake-up call.

Part of her reasoning for starting early is because it's a good time to communicate with teachers. With her Education Hat on, Laura spends a lot of time talking to teachers, administrators and also Opera Cleveland's teaching artists that execute our programs in the schools.

"This job is a balance of lighting fires and putting out fires," she explains.

The starting the fires part involves grabbing a bunch of The Italian Girl in Algiers costumes and some kerosene initiating partnerships with schools, cultivating interest in our programs and developing new ones.

For instance, today she had a meeting with a potential teacher for a summer program to flesh out curricula for the program. And later, she is meeting with administrators at the Cleveland Municipal School District to discuss future partnerships with them

The putting out fires part involves being a liaison. Laura is there to answer teachers' and administrators' questions, as well as solve any problems our teaching artists might have. Like "The zipper on my costume broke." Seriously.

Between February and March, Opera Cleveland's education programs are in 20 different schools, so Laura keeps close tabs on the oh-so-lovely NE Ohio weather and its snow days.

A different hat! Oh, how shall I recognize you now?

As orchestra personnel manager, Laura coordinates all the communication with the Opera Cleveland orchestra. Today, we had to search for a substitute accordion* player for The Barber of Seville among the lists of approved subs and extra players. (*Not really an accordion player; I can't remember what instrument it was.)

We also divided up the scores to distribute to the orchestra. Did I mention that Laura also plays in the orchestra.

"And in my spare time, I breathe," she says.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Carl, for my birthday the girls at TCO gave me a bag that says "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables." - Franz Schalk

I thought you would appreciate that!