A Tribute to Roger Adams
Even though we produced more than 60 operas together, to Roger I was still the “new kid.”
We both learned our craft “old school.” I know that sounds corny these days, but that’s how we were raised in the industry.
If you paid attention, you could always learn something from him—how to tie a particular knot, or how to safely hang a 2-ton scenic piece, and a lot of really good stuff in between.
Early on in our partnership, Roger and I decided that we may disagree, but we would always respect each other. It was hard to do sometimes and we’ve had some good growling sessions. So at the beginning of every opera season, I’d tell him, “Well, Roger, when it’s over I hope we can still be friends.” And, of course, we were.
In my very first season with the company, after installing a rather large and tricky set, I had to ask Roger to move the entire thing 1’ stage right. Even though I could see by the look in his eyes that he thought I was crazy, he recited the options and the consequences of each, and then just quietly did it.
One of the biggest challenges we faced was Dany Lyne’s design for the The Maids & Emperor of Atlantis. Roger and I agonized over how to construct the 30’ wide x 20’ deep x 20’ tall room. You see, it was to be suspended 10’ above the stage and it weighed more than 5 tons. The interior of the room had to completely change décor from one opera to the next on the double bill. And it was in rotating rep with another opera, so we had to take it down every other day and then reset it—within 8 hours.
We also built a boat one time—a boat with wheels. Damn near did us all in when we had to replace over 100 casters in 2 days. Roger didn’t falter though. He complained a little—well, a lot—but he kept at it until he got it working. That was his way.
—Glenn Plott, Director of Production
Roger Adams starred in a short documentary film on the backstage crew and our 2010 production of Die Meistersinger. It’s an excellent depiction of the work that goes into our productions, and the men and women who put in long hours to bring them to life.