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Entry from December 04, 2022
Sitzprobe (sitting rehearsal)

Entry in progress—BP

Wikipedia: Sitzprobe
In opera and musical theatre, a sitzprobe (from the German for seated rehearsal) is a rehearsal where the singers sing with the orchestra, focusing attention on integrating the two groups. It is often the first rehearsal where the orchestra and singers rehearse together. The equivalent Italian term is prova all’italiana.

(German for seated rehearsal). The first rehearsal between Opera singers and the orchestra. No attempt is made to act or move the production at this rehearsal.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Sitzprobe, n.
Forms:  also with lower-case initial.
Origin: A borrowing from German. Etymon: German Sitzprobe.
Etymology: < German Sitzprobe (late 19th cent. or earlier) < sitz- , combining form of sitzen sit v. + Probe probe n.
In opera and musical theatre: the first rehearsal where the singers and the full orchestra perform together, without sets or costumes, and with the singers seated on the stage.
1963 Guardian 14 Aug. 6/6 This week’s bulletin of rehearsal calls reads like Part II Orders.., with ‘Sitzprobe’ (rehearsal without stage movement) of this, alternating with dress parade for that.
1984 N. John Opera iii. 23/2 After one or two rehearsals for the orchestra alone, the singers will be called for a sitzprobe (sitting rehearsal).

Google Groups: rec.music.opera
David Radovich
Sep 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM
I was recently introduced to the term “sitzprobe” sp? and soon realized that it means a rehearsal of cast and orchestra without any acting or incidental music. It was suggested that the term had it’s origins in German opera but the individual was vague and unsure about it. Any informed musicians (or afficionados) know the scoop?? e-mail Thanx

James Jorden
Sep 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM
The “sitz” is only incidental to the meaning, which is: a runthrough in the theater of the music of an opera with full cast and orchestra, if *possible* without stopping for corrections. This is the conductor’s rehearsal; that means he is completely in charge. At this time the maestro gets a better idea of orchestral and vocal balance, and can get a jump on any problems of coordination between stage and pit. Usually there are a number of starts and redos, which means the session can be long and rather tedious for singers. So that’s why chairs are provided: thus the “sitz.”

In Italian theaters, this rehearsal is called “prova all’Italiana,” the Italian-style rehearsal. The only difference I see between this and the Sitzprobe is that Italian singers tend to mark unless they are specifically told to sing out by the maestro; Sitzprobe singers do not usually mark unless they are granted special dispensation.

If the set is in place and safe for walking, the rehearsal may be called a “Wandelprobe,” which means the singers are allowed (but not required) to “wander” over the set while singing. This can be very useful if the set is tricky (stairs, ramps, etc.); the singers can get a much better idea of how well they can hear the orchestra and see the maestro from their various stage positions. Occasionally, if there is a problem with balance, some compromises may be worked out with the stage director at this rehearsal, bringing the singer farther downstage, or whatever.
james jorden

latest opera gossip from parterre box:

Sep 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM
I have sat through a number of these sitzprobes. The singers sit on chairs at the front of the stage. They can use scores, if necessary. The main purpose is to let the conductor check the musical preparation (including notes) and begin setting balances between singers and orchestras (which are always too loud). The wandelprobe is a different kind of rehearsal, in which the effect of the set, staging, etc., on the music and balances can be assessed.

Fred T Paul
@m_bland ah. a Wandelprobe is a Sitzprobe + Loose Blocking.
10:17 PM · Jun 30, 2009

Replying to @ajholmesmusic
@ajholmesmusic you sit at a sitzprobe, you wander at a wandelprobe! #operaterms #german
4:36 PM · Sep 26, 2011

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Today we have our Wandelprobe! (Yes, it sounds like Fondle/Probe.) It’s like a Sitzprobe with light blocking (petting).
9:14 AM · Jul 9, 2012

Jay Wahl
A wandelprobe is a sitzprobe with some minor blocking involved. #tonight
4:30 PM · Mar 24, 2013

Margo Gray
Sitzprobe vs. wandelprobe: one sounds like a painful operation, one sounds like a crime. But I’d rather wandel anyday. #opera #internlife
9:00 PM · Aug 5, 2013

Shelley Quiala
“At a sitzprobe they sitz, and at a wandelprobe they wandel.” - lessons in theater from Andy Luft @theordway
11:16 PM · Jul 14, 2017

David Charles Abell
Wandelprobe (variant of Sitzprobe): first rehearsal with singers & orchestra together. Conductor’s favorite! #MagicFlutePHL #O17
12:33 PM · Sep 10, 2017

Charles R. Kaiser 🇺🇦
Replying to @riggerx
A Wandelprobe is like a Sitzprobe, but with blocking and movement.
3:08 PM · Jul 2, 2018

Theatre Geekery
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Sitzprobe - Theatre Etymology - Part 22
In the majority of theatres, when a cast rehearses music, either with the canned music or a band or orchestra, it is just called a music rehearsal. However, there is a term for a music rehearsal where only music is rehearsed and the cast sits and does not work with any blocking. That term is sitzprobe.

Sitzprobe is pronounced “sits-pro-bah.” It is not common to have a cast rehearse with canned music and have it called a sitzprobe, but some theatre may call it that. It is more common for the cast (or only the singers in the cast) to rehearse with a band or orchestra. The rehearsals are for the conductor to get a feel for what is going to happen and the cast and musicians to start working together. It is hoped that the music can be rehearsed without stopping, but that is definitely not likely at the first sitzprobe. Being that there are going to be stops where singers and orchestra members mark music, a sitzprobe can last several hours. This is one of the reasons that people sit.

Steven John
Replying to @miriwinkle and @CarrieHFletcher
A sitzprobe is where cast sit but sing with the band/orchestra, a wandelprobe is where they first try the staging/blocking with the orchestra
4:04 PM · Aug 3, 2019

32 Theatre Terms Everyone Should Know
From “break a leg” to “strike,” here’s what they mean and where they came from.

AUGUST 10, 2019
Another term with German origins, sitzprobe translates to “seated rehearsal.” This is typically the first rehearsal when the orchestra and the cast sing through the show in its entirety while sitting at music stands. A wandelprobe is a similar rehearsal, joining the instrumentalists and onstage performers, but as the actors wander through their blocking on stage.

Eric Hart
Replying to @cue2_go
Randy Lutz taught me how to tell them apart: in a sitzprobe, the artists sitz in chairs. In a wandelprobe, they wandel around the stage.
10:53 AM · Sep 6, 2019

Christopher Chen
WANDELPROBE: It’s like a Sitzprobe but with blocking (stage movements and/or choreography). What’s a Sitzprobe? The first time the cast sings with the orchestra.
Had our Wandelprobe for #EWPAssassins today. So… https://instagram.com/p/B9OTw27JteL/?igshid=cfjq60ocmzls
2:53 AM · Mar 2, 2020 from Los Angeles, CA

Replying to @charlofin
Of course!
Sitzprobe typically describes a seated rehearsal — in musicals & opera, it’s the rehearsal in which we seat and sing for the first time with the full orchestra of the show.
There’s also the Wandelprobe — which does have minor blocking vs just sitting down!
2:33 PM · Jul 15, 2022

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