Erik Sunderman secures competitive apprenticeship A local aspiring stage technician is receiving hands-on experience this summer working backstage during the 2001 Santa Fe Opera season.
Having vied against almost 600 competitors, Erik Sunderman from Vermillion received one of 68 apprenticeships and is working side-by-side with internationally known costume, lighting and set designers.
Technicians build sets, sew costumes, prepare props, control sound and lighting, construct wigs, and apply make-up. They work backstage to make rehearsals and productions run smoothly. In addition, they participate in career development workshops, receive portfolio reviews, and attend design discussions led by professionals.
The Santa Fe Opera founded the apprentice program for singers in 1957. Technical apprenticeships were added in 1965. These unique programs have acted as models for similar programs nationwide. They remain among the most prestigious engagements for young singers and technicians, providing both formal and informal training.