Supertitles!

“It’s the greatest thing to hit opera since the long-playing record.
The Wall Street Journal, July 6, 1984.

“The Canadians have created something that makes opera understandable and accessible to many who love the music but can’t understand the words. It’s called SURTITLES.”
The New York Times, September 23, 1983.

supertitles1Supertitles or Surtitles are dialogue the audience can read while watching an event.

With supertitles the audience can simultaneously read what’s being said or sung without taking their eyes off the performers.  This is because the text is displayed above the performers.

Serious theater and opera goers have always studied the script or libretto in anticipation of a performance.  Many would follow along during the performance — often annoying others in the audience with a flashlight.

Supertitles got their start when opera companies discovered they could increase attendance and engage dozing spouses by projecting the text above the stage.

Alex typing up supertitles
Alex typing up supertitles

A trained captioner prepares the captions in advance so that they mirror the actors’ performance, then cues them live as the action unfolds on stage. The full text of the production appears on the caption unit, and for this show Alex Gieske was tasked with the creation of the text.  She started this week Monday and is almost done with the end of the show!  For the past week she has spent rehearsals and time at home typing out the entire libretto onto powerpoint slides.  Our current tally is 1047 slides and we still have two songs to go!

This is an exciting new thing HHS is trying for this years musical The Mikado. The auditorium as a brand new projector that the theatre department used for Alice in Wonderland, so we thought why not use it for the musical as well?  The use of Supertitles, or Surtitles will hopefully allow audience members the freedom to enjoy and understand what is going on in our colorful, ridiculous comedy about mistaken identifies, love triangles, a Ruler who loves beheading people, and an executioner who is terrified of killing.

Join us for The Mikado next week!

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