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Behind the scenes of Salome: How to make a severed head

A sneak preview of our new film showing our Prop Department creating the head of John the Baptist.

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

3 May 2012 at 5.08pm | 3 Comments

One of the most dramatic moments in David McVicar’s production of Salome sees the blood-drenched titular character passionately caress and kiss the severed head of John the Baptist.

In this year’s production, John the Baptist, previously sung by Johan Reuter in 2010 - will be played by Egils Silins. Over the last couple of months, prop artist Steve Jolley has been busy working to create a new head 'double' for the Latvian singer and we have filmed the process.

Our short film will show the grisly head developing from an inert lump of clay to a blood-spurting, severed stump.

Taking note of everything from the shape of the inner-nostrils, to the depth of the wrinkles, to the thickness of the eyebrows, the Props team have worked with painstakingly to produce a convincing likeness of the singer.Our film will show the transformation stage-by-stage and offer a unique insight into the extensive work that goes on behind the scenes at the Royal Opera House

Take a look at our image gallery for a further glimpse into this fascinating - and slightly gruesome - process:

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

3 May 2012 at 5.08pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged David Mcvicar, Egils Silins, Production, props, ROH, Salome, The Royal Opera

This article has 3 comments

  1. Linda responded on 3 May 2012 at 6:26pm Reply

    Remember back in the seventies, the wig dept working on the head...hung it to dry hanging on the beams of the then wig room.....Fireman nearly had heart attack when he swung his torch around. Shows how realistic they look.

  2. Jeremiah responded on 4 May 2012 at 2:51am Reply

    You folks are good at those heads.

    Too Gorey for me though.

  3. Alan Hall responded on 9 May 2012 at 2:42pm Reply

    If there was two of them and they spoke they would be - Talking Heads

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