Opera Supertitles

I have been translating and projecting supertitles (surtitles) for operas, recitals, and other musical performances since 2006. In today’s world, titles are a must — even for English productions, they free the audience from the task of trying to figure out the words so they can focus on the music, leading them to new discoveries like how the words and music work together in a given piece.

My goal as a supertitlist is to connect the audience with the music in a way that enhances rather than distracts from the performance.  I accomplish this through a highly-considered choice of words, length and structure of titles, judicious use of effects (yes! Really!), and precise timing.  After a 2013 production of L’Italiana, Barry Banks specifically sought me out to tell me how incredible the titles were, so I’ll take that as getting something right. 🙂

I generally prefer to run my own titles, largely because the timing is so critical to the project.  The best reward is those moments when the audience gasps or laughs exactly when they are supposed to.  I also use a different system from the usual “book and PowerPoint” that is highly personal to the way I work, but which allows me to arrive and do a first run at dress rehearsal — especially if I can attend a run-through beforehand via Skype!  My rates are crazy reasonable, because let’s be honest – this part of my business is a labor of love.  I also enjoy traveling and collaborating with awesome and creative people, and hey, you never know what else I might be able to help out with while I’m there. Let’s just say I have a lot of skills and am very much a team player.

I am 100% open to experimenting with the title experience – projection surface, colors, textures, background images… The only limit is your/our imagination.

I also travel with my own projector that is suitable for most smaller venues.

I currently have sets for the following operas:

  • La Boheme
  • Carmen
  • L’elisir d’amore
  • Don Giovanni
  • L’italiana in algeri
  • Le Nozze di Figaro
  • Rusalka
  • La Traviata
  • Cunning Little Vixen
  • Tosca
  • Cosi Fan Tutte (in progress)
  • Il barbiere di Siviglia (in progless)

I also have a rather exhaustively researched translation of Poulenc’s “Tel Jour, Telle Nuit” song cycle.

I’m continually adding to my collection, and am happy to take requests.  For a new set for a full opera, I prefer at least 4-6 months’ lead time.  Shorter lead times are sometimes possible, but may cost you more. For recitals and smaller productions, it will depend on how much translation is needed.

Clients so far include:  Juneau Lyric Opera (Alaska), Opera Fairbanks (Alaska), Opera-to-Go (Alaska), and Bellevue City Opera Ballet (Washington).