Seattle Opera Weblog: A Tremendous Milestone


Luther Hintz backstage at Seattle Opera’s 1998 manufacturing of Tristan and Isolde. Courtesy of Luther Hintz.
Luther Hintz has seen extra reveals at Seattle Opera than simply about anybody else on this planet. And he’s had a novel vantage level: a view from the stage. Luther is a supernumerary—an additional, in opera parlance. Supernumeraries (or “supers,” for brief) don’t sing, however they do dress up in costume to play the roles of townsfolk, troopers, servants, or anything wanted to finish an opera scene. This summer season’s manufacturing of The Elixir of Love marks Luther’s a centesimal manufacturing with Seattle Opera—a serious milestone in a relationship stretching again almost 40 years.

In a pre-show presentation on Sunday, August 7, Common Director Christina Scheppelmann offered Luther with an award in recognition of his a centesimal manufacturing as a supernumerary with Seattle Opera. Video credit score: Jeffrey Parker.

Luther, a retired architect who moved to Seattle within the early Nineteen Eighties, first appeared as an excellent with Seattle Opera in 1986 for Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. He determined to affix after chaperoning for his seven-year-old daughter when she performed a Nibelung in The Ring the earlier 12 months. Father and daughter had a lot enjoyable on stage that they ultimately appeared in half a dozen productions collectively. Luther was hooked.

The fun of sharing the stage with among the world’s biggest singers is what stored Luther coming again. “If you begin rehearsing, you’re conscious of the truth that these individuals have an amazing present and it is wonderful what they will do with their voices,” says Luther, who all the time wears his tuxedo to the opera home on opening evening. “I get goosebumps once I consider being on stage with any individual with that type of expertise, linking arms or standing proper subsequent to one another.”

Backstage at The Elixir of Love, Luther Hintz reveals off his award in recognition of his a centesimal manufacturing as a supernumerary with Seattle Opera. Picture credit score: Jeffrey Parker.
Supernumeraries are volunteer positions, and the calls for can fluctuate wildly from manufacturing to manufacturing. Some reveals ask their supers to face immobile for hours on finish, resulting in the notion amongst some stage administrators that supers are little greater than “movable furnishings,” says Hintz. In different productions, supers are requested to mill about, shout, snicker, and even dance.

In uncommon productions, nonetheless, supers get the possibility to take middle stage. Giacomo Puccini’s comedy Gianni Schicchi, which Seattle Opera produced in 1990, opens with the character Buoso Donati, performed by an excellent, on his loss of life mattress. Donati’s loss of life kickstarts the opera, placing all eyes on him. For Luther, it was one of the vital thrilling moments of his profession. “The conductor instructed me, ‘I’ll get the orchestra prepared, after which I will level at you. And while you’re prepared, we’ll begin.’ And I needed to begin the opera by groaning and screaming, then dying. It was wonderful, to behave in entrance of three,000 individuals.”

Luther Hintz (left) with Frederica von Stade (middle) in Seattle Opera’s 1997 manufacturing of George Frideric Handel’s Xerxes. Picture credit score: Luke Jefferee.

The proximity to well-known singers sometimes results in once-in-a-lifetime interactions. In that pivotal manufacturing of Gianni Schicchi, longtime Seattle Opera bass-baritone Archie Drake favored to squirt Luther with seltzer, making an attempt to get him to interrupt character. “He tried to make me snicker once I was presupposed to be lifeless! It was nice, it was a lot enjoyable.”

In Seattle Opera’s 1997 manufacturing of George Frideric Handel’s Xerxes, Luther appeared alongside beloved mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade in her solely look at Seattle Opera. “One other tremendous and I, we carried her in a sedan chair. She was so good to us and she or he was world well-known. She was simply so gracious, and she or he didn’t need to be. She gave us espresso mugs on the finish of the manufacturing!”


Luther Hintz (middle proper) and Seattle Opera firm supervisor Paula Podemski (middle left) backstage at Boris Godunov in 2000. Courtesy of Invoice Mohn.

Seattle Opera firm supervisor Paula Podemski, who manages Seattle Opera’s roster of supers, estimates that supers often commit 45–70 hours to every present. Which means Luther has spent a number of hundreds of hours engaged on Seattle Opera productions. Out of 100 productions, Luther estimates he’s appeared in 60 completely different operas, together with some which might be hardly ever heard.

However his favourite opera is Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, which he has appeared in thrice at Seattle Opera. “I simply love that music,” says Luther. It’s exactly what has stored him going for all these years—the enjoyment of music and the facility of the unamplified human voice, combined with the singular exhilaration of reside efficiency.

Thanks, Luther, in your service to Seattle Opera. Right here’s to many extra productions to come back!

Luther Hintz in The Elixir of Love. Picture credit score: Philip Newton.


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