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Profile: John Duncan, Stage Manager

Can you describe your job in 1 sentence?
Myself and my team are responsible for the running of rehearsals and performances and helping the creative teams to realise their concepts.

 

What do you love about working in opera?
Firstly the music! The sheer scale of the operas and the high standards of the production values. Its great to be involved with brand new productions from initial concept to opening night. Also to be surrounded by very talent singers and musicians who really know their craft.

 

10 years ago, did you imagine that you would be working for this Company?
I did not. At that time I was Company Manager for Northern Ballet. I was doing a gruelling 7 shows a week up and down the country with 40 of the most talented dancers in the UK, but it was extremely hard work. I had spent 14 years with the company and the touring was beginning to wear me out (there are some cities you just cannot face going back to for the twentieth time) and luckily the Stage Manager post became available at Scottish Opera.

 

What has been your most memorable opera experience so far?
La traviata – we only had two and half weeks in the rehearsal room and what the company achieved in that time was amazing.

 

What do you do when you're not working?
I should be going to the gym more often! Spending time with friends and family and not spending so much time in TK Maxx.

 

What 3 things might people be surprised to learn about you?
I play the piano (I actually used to be really good but am a bit rusty nowadays). I also learnt the clarinet and tenor saxophone at school and played in various Concert Bands around Glasgow. I am also a huge musical theatre fan and have an LP/CD collection that almost bankrupted me! So if you ever want the Korean Cast recording of The Sound of Music…just ask. I’m also a member of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society - how random is that?

 

What is your favourite place in the world to be?
My father was from the Isle of Bute so many school holidays were spent there. The Kyles of Bute are the ultimate view and place to be for me. I was very lucky to be involved with 2 tours to China with Northern Ballet and I would love to go back to Beijing again and spend time exploring it properly.