What is the role of a Repetiteur?

Also Called Opera Accompanist, Vocal Coach – In addition to being an accomplished pianist and conductor, the répétiteur is also an accomplished vocal coach and instructor.

The repetiteur is a role that is wholly unique to opera, and he or she is one of the driving forces behind the rehearsal process. As an accompaniment, they assist in group rehearsals by successfully reducing the difficult orchestral scores for piano in a way that retains the atmosphere of a live orchestra.

Repeatiteurs then add vocal coaching to their already heavy job when it comes to small group or one-on-one rehearsals. They work with soloists and chorus members to improve the pitch, rhythm, musicianship, and even pronunciation of the singers.

This one-of-a-kind combination of teaching and performing in the service of one of the most singular art forms on the planet—opera—has led those in the know to regard this position as one of the most creatively diversified and satisfying opportunities available to an experienced pianist and teacher.

This role necessitates a strong desire for musical education as well as extensive mastery of the operatic repertoire—including every voice, every instrument, and every syllable.

Despite the name, this work is far from monotonous. Only the most accomplished pianists may serve as répétiteurs, but they must also have a relatively close knowledge of the operatic repertoire to do so. Not only that, but they also serve as backup conductors for backstage choirs, sing choral parts themselves (while playing piano), play other keyboard instruments, and handle sound effects during performances as needed. Additionally, the work needs repetitionists to be fluent in a wide range of languages, including Italian, German, French, English, and Russian. There are a lot of moving parts in this profession, which necessitates a broad skill set, a strong work ethic, and a keen eye for the details.

Career Path

In a conservatory context, most répétiteurs study some combination of piano, voice, and opera. They obtain teaching experience by working with individual singers or with choirs; and they build opera accompaniment expertise by playing with local, amateur, or youth opera companies. Repetitionists, like the opera singers they train, can eventually rise through the ranks of prestigious opera houses through a mixture of persistence, connections, and good fortune. On the other hand, there are many who choose to work in professions that are similar but unique, such as chorus masters or independent vocal instructors.

In search of Employment

Performing as a repetiteur requires a unique set of abilities and temperaments that are uncommon among musicians. As a result, even if there are only a few jobs available in the industry, those who are persistent, assertive, and qualified can easily land a job. It's possible to get your foot in the door as a trainee repetiteur at some opera houses, which is similar to an assistant repetiteur role. One of the best ways to obtain experience is to participate in youth operas.

Professional Competencies

  • Sight-reading
  • Accompanying
  • Transposition
  • Conducting
  • Piano performance
  • Orchestral reduction
  • Foreign languages
  • Vocal performance and coaching
  • General opera repertoire

Personality Traits

Repetitionists must have a high level of patience and endurance. A “repetiteur” is a performer who goes through a long, tedious rehearsal process in which difficult portions are performed dozens of times. Maintaining concentration and hitting the right bar every time in a situation like this necessitates razor-sharp focus. When it comes to teaching, it's crucial for repeaters to be open, encouraging, and likeable in order to help their students succeed. A love for music education and a comprehensive knowledge of opera repertoire—every voice, instrument, and word—are essential for this position. Repetition requires a certain amount of humility and love for the piece in order to succeed.

Job-Life

Repetiteurs can be self-employed individuals who work with opera companies on a part-time basis. In this instance, they are typically compensated for three-hour session fees. These independent repetiteurs are frequently employed as general accompanists, concert pianists, or conductors. The majority of the time, repetiteurs are full-time employees who receive a salary in addition to their other benefits as part of the opera company's musical crew. Whether freelance or in-house, most répétiteurs will find themselves on the road at some point throughout their careers. Long hours as a repetiteur are common, especially in the last weeks before the show goes on the air. Staging rehearsals typically last all day, and thereafter, the repetiteur returns home to practice the music for the following day's performance.

If you wish to work in the music industry as a repetiteur, you'll need to learn how to read music. Besides singing and performing arts classes, Esom School offers music training for guitar, violin, saxophone, drum, and piano/keyboard. You will be able to put your newly acquired skills and knowledge into action by working with our team of highly trained instructors.

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