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How to Carry a Spear

Posted at 3:43 PM on November 12, 2008 by Rex Levang

Ah, the things you can run across on the Web. . . .

Here's the handbook for supers at the San Francisco Opera. ("Supers," or supernumeraries, are the non-singing performers who play "the people," "the crowd," "knights and ladies," etc.)

There's always something fascinating about glimpsing backstage, and you get the answers to some interesting questions here.

Can I strike up a backstage conversation with, say, Anna Netrebko? (No--page 11.) I have a visible tattoo. Am I disqualified? (The makeup artists are pros; so not necessarily--page 8.) Do I need to know the story of the opera in question? (It's a good idea--page 6.) I'd like to get more roles as a super; what do I do? (It's the Woody Allen answer: show up. Page 3.)