Show artwork for Wild

Meet Our Stagehands

Posted on: April 17, 2020

February marked a momentous occasion for LA Opera as we staged the world premiere of Eurydice. Who could forget the heart-wrenching performances from our all-star cast, the gorgeous costumes, or the lush orchestra score? If you need a memory jog, or maybe took a dip in the River of Forgetfulness since February, take a look at the production below.

The set of Eurydice was just as dramatic as the opera itself with a flying elevator, asphodels as far as the eye could see, and the magic that was the (fully functional) onstage shower. Obviously, the gods didn’t just drop all these pieces on our stage – they were all carefully crafted and built by our team of incredible stagehands and artisans.  

In today’s Backstage at LAO” edition of LAO at Home, we wanted to introduce you to some of our crew members who helped turn the DCP into the lair of Hades. While all the final bits and pieces came together, they (very generously) took us behind-the-scenes and walked us through how a world premiere opera is made literally from scratch. 

First up is Damon Schindler, our scenic artist. What exactly does a scenic artist do? They do all the painting required on set, including backdrops, props, stage floors, you name it. One of the more special treats for Damon and our scenic artists preparing for Eurydice was painting our show curtain (the curtain you see before the show starts to hide the stage) by hand. Nowadays, designs are printed digitally on show curtains, but our team used paintbrushes and sprays to create our masterpiece. 

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Next we have Mark Raia, a key carpenter behind the scenes. He’s the guy who manages all of the “flying” scenery on stage. Think of all the moving parts in a production’s set: banners, backgrounds, flags, big props, etc. Now, think of all the moving parts you see in Eurydice (like, that giant elevator, the multiple trap doors, the fully-functional shower). It’s a lot, and Mark’s the guy who helps build, set, and manage it all as the show’s going on.

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Corey Cooper is one of our electricians. He sets up all the lights and runs power to the stage, while also cleverly hiding any wires, battery packs, or plugs from the audience’s view. Whether it’s placing thousands of small LED lights behind the "sun" or creating pulley systems to cleverly light the door to the Underworld, Corey’s got us covered.   


Last but certainly not least is Scott Shepard, our prop master. The prop master is responsible for making sure everything that’s supposed to be on stage actually is on stage. From the rugs to the couches to—in this case—250 handmade asphodel flowers, Scott’s the guy to put it all in place. 

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Let's give a big (virtual) thank you to this incredible team that makes every show happen, and make sure you watch our video above to hear them talk about all they do in their own words. 

We’re reminded as we look back on past productions the important roles each and every artisan plays to help bring opera to life. Please consider donating to the LA Opera Relief Fund, which will provide much needed relief for those impacted by production cancelations and will help us continue to support our community during this unprecedented time. To learn more, visit: