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2/27/97: You work without a prompter a lot. Is this by choice? Can you comment on working with and without a prompter?

Simply, the prompter is a tradition in Europe and less of a tradition in the United States—though some of our biggest and best opera houses use them. A good prompter is a help. Needless to say, a bad prompter is worse than no prompter. I have worked in houses that use them regularly and I have added them when circumstances warrant (for example, where many of the principals are debuting their roles, or a singer is particularly dependent on a prompter). One factor that is not always evident to the audience is the actual physical distance between the podium and the singers—something quite independent of the size of the auditorium. As that distance increases, a prompter becomes more and more valuable.

©1997 by Joseph Rescigno. The text here may be freely reproduced for non-commercial purposes as long as credit is given.

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