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

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