Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Set The Nights On Fire

The wonder and amazement one feels when watching an opera is due to a few things: the artist's performance, the maestro and his orchestra and the set.

Designing and constructing a brand new set is quite a feat. It all starts with scale drawings and scale models. Budgets, including crew and materials, as well as time frames become huge factors in set design. It's not just what the set itself will look like but also important is the visualization of where the actors will stand and how they will move and interact with each other. And that's even before we get to the lighting design, sound design, projection design, props making, costume design and so much more.

From designers to electricians to carpenters and everyone in between, the technical team involved in this highly creative discipline have all contributed to that "wow" factor you feel when sitting in the opera house.

Although Vancouver Opera's sets have mostly been rented from other opera companies, we have commissioned or co-commissioned a few sets of our very own. Eugene Onegin and Nixon in China have already delighted our Vancouver audience. Who could forget the ravishing ballroom scene with all the polonaise dancing in Eugene Onegin or the landing of Nixon's Spirit of '76 jumbo jet in Nixon in China?

Photo credit: Tim Matheson (top left & right)
Photo credit: Opera Philadelphia (bottom left)
Photo credit: Santa Fe Opera (bottom right)

The Lillian Alling set will have its world premiere this October, followed by VO's co-commission with Santa Fe Opera, La Clemenza di Tito in February 2010. In the very near future, we will unveil and wow audiences with our co-comission of the Tea: A Mirror of Soul set with Opera Philadelphia.

Of course, we enjoy spreading the love around, so all of Vancouver Opera's sets are available for rent. Pictures and logistics of each our rentals will be posted this week.

For more information on renting, please contact:

Tom Wright, Director of Artistic Production 604-682-2871 ext. 4841 or email

Terry Harper, Director of Production 604-682-2871 ext. 4822 or email

~ Ling Chan

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Opera Pic-Nic'ing

Last week, the office closed up shop in the afternoon and we all headed out to Locarno Beach for a staff picnic. Ah, the joys of summertime!

Food stations were set up, drinks were chilling in coolers and BBQs were fired up at our reserved picnic site. Staff, board, and artists mingled and ate up a storm. Games were played, bubbles were blown, faces were painted and watermelons were smashed 'suikawari' style (a Japanese beach tradition). Nobody parties like opera people party!

What was an added bonus was that the Celebration of Light fireworks were also taking place that very evening and we had already carved out our places.

Props to Adrianne, Charran, Nagisa, Jennifer & Melissa for all the party planning!

Photo contributors: Ling Chan, Moh Faris & Nagisa Inoue

~ Ling Chan

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

Set design by Sue Lepage; Projection by Tim Matheson

Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to...

Earworm! Ok, time to stop humming TLC in my head and focus on what's at hand.

Taken by our projectionist Tim Matheson, this model is your first peep at what one of our Lillian Alling scenes will look like. Keep in mind, it's a work in progress, but there's no doubt our world premiere will induce all sorts of "wow!"

Doesn't this make you want to head to a lake right now?

~ Ling Chan

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dressing Lillian Alling: The Sketches

You got your first look a couple of weeks ago and we know you've been chomping at the bit...

Here's the complete costume sketches for the world premiere of Lillian Alling by award-winning set & costume designer Sue Lepage.

Winner of two Dora Mavor Awards, Toronto-based designer Sue LePage has worked on more than 100 productions in theatre and opera. Recent credits include Frobisher and Filumena for Calgary Opera and The Banff Centre. LePage has worked on productions with the Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, CanStage, Charlottetown Festival, Citadel Theatre, The Grand Theatre, National Arts Centre, Native Earth, Neptune Theatre, Theatre Calgary and the Vancouver Playhouse.

Images by Sue LePage, all rights reserved

Stay tuned! We'll be posting pictures of the costumes from the wardrobe department soon!

~ Ling Chan