Supernumeraries are the folk who serve as extras in operas. Usually it is a fun (but time consuming) thing to do, and a great way to get close to the action. I have to pass on this story about a super in the recent Pittsburgh Opera production of "Samson & Dalila."
Alan Cope was a super in the first Act, one of the Hebrew elders. Well, opening night I went to the Tallis Scholars concert at Calvary Episcopal while our Robert Croan reviewed "Samson" (I saw it Tuesday) and I was talking to Cope after the show. He is on the board of the Renaissance & Baroque Society, which presented the concert, and I wanted to hear what he thought of the choir (I thought it was fab). During the course of the conversation he told me he was in the opera. "At the opera?" I said, already puzzled since he had been at Calvary. "No, in it." To which I had a very confused look on my face.
Turns out Cope's role was only needed in the first Act (the opera started an hour earlier than the Tallis concert), and when that finished, he tossed his outfit to the rack, bolted out the stage door and flew up to Shadyside. He arrived just in time to hear a few pieces by Tallis in the first half and all of the second.
That is impressive! A true music lover. Bravo.