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10:24 Ballet dancers begin their day with a morning exercise six times a week. This exercise, taken by a rota of teachers, wakes up the body for the day’s work and helps keep up classical ballet technique. Accompanied by a pianist, the exercise begins with warmups on the bar and progresses to figures, pirouettes and leaps. After an hour’s exercise, the dancers go their separate ways to rehearsals of various works. Read more

10:24 Ballet room

17:15 There are 170 children and adolescents attending the Ballet School of the FNO, from the young dancers aged 7 to 8 in primary education to the vocational education students. The weekly programme for 3rd graders includes four hours of ballet basics, rhythm, acrobatics and body care. Pupils also have opportunities to become acquainted with the work of a dancer in appearing with professionals in productions of the Ballet. A great hobby, hard work and having fun together – that is what ballet is all about. Read more

17:15 Ballet School

12:40 A diverse, hungry crowd packs into the staff canteen in the lunch break. The staff canteen serves some 300 meals a day and caters to 500–700 customers – whatever they may look like. Most of the personnel work in two shifts, so the staff canteen is also open from early in the morning to late at night. Read more

12:40 Staff canteen

14:28 Set construction begins at the metal workshop, where three metalworkers create the framework for set elements. They cut, bend, weld, turn and smooth various kinds of metal. In the course of a year, they may use up to 3 km of steel and aluminium pipe, dozens of kilos of welding wire and thousands of nuts and bolts. The aim is to build sets that are lightweight, safe and durable. The work is governed by the set designer’s vision and the aim of creating illusions for the viewer. Read more

14:28 Metal workshop

17:29 In the make-up and hairdressers department, singers and dancers are changed into their respective characters. Before each performance and runthrough rehearsal, soloists arrive to be made up according to a precise schedule. The ageing and expression created with make-up must be visible even at the back of the auditorium. An appropriate hairdo or wig, and a beard, moustache or bald wig as necessary, complete the illusion. Even outrageous fantasy characters are nothing out of the ordinary here. Read more
20:00 A full house has exited the auditorium into the foyer for the interval. In the course of the evening, the 1,300 people will consume some 100 litres of coffee. In one year, more than 205,000 viewers attend an opera or ballet performance, paying EUR 45 on average for their ticket. Read more

20:00 Main foyer

21:05 The sun has already set as the children’s choir prepares for their entrance in the opera Boris Godunov. After vocal warmups, all 24 children dress up and apply make-up under the guidance of their supervisors. The children’s choir comes in towards the end of the work; by 22.00, this crowd of beggars will already be on their way home with faces washed. The children’s choir has 60 singers aged 10 to 15 in all. Read more
13:40 A final runthrough rehearsal is almost finished. The mood in the wings is focused and expectant. Everyone is following what is happening on stage, keeping their muscles warm and rehearsing their steps. After weeks of work in the rehearsal hall, everything is finally falling into place. The premiere is only a few days away. Read more

13:40 In the wings

14:57 The morning rehearsal in the main auditorium is ending, and the evening shift will soon start hanging lights for the evening’s performance. There is less than four hours to go before the audience arrives. Dozens of professionals will need to do their jobs before the performance, from stage hands and lighting riggers to props managers, dressers and make-up and hairdressing personnel. Read more

14:57 Main auditorium

19:10 The night’s performance is under way. This is what the work of the preceding weeks and months has been all about. Now it is for the audience to experience a live performance, each in their own individual way. Read more

19:10 Main auditorium