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  • Making Don Giovanni’ exhibition reveals how an opera production is created, from early designs to arriving on stage

Making Don Giovanni’ exhibition reveals how an opera production is created, from early designs to arriving on stage

Free Front of House exhibition melds video, designs and costumes to offer unique insight into the process of staging a production.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

15 December 2014 at 5.42pm | 2 Comments

An exhibition chronicling the design and creation of Kasper Holten’s production of Don Giovanni is currently open to view in the main entrance foyer at the Royal Opera House.

The exhibition was curated by set designer Es Devlin (Les Troyens and Salome), who is returning to The Royal Opera this Season with Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

'What is great about this exhibition is that it’s a thing in itself,' says Es. 'Exhibitions like this can often end up as footnotes to a live event, which is frustrating. But walking into this exhibition, the artefacts are intriguing in themselves. That they are traces of a production is just one aspect of what’s involved.'

The production, which had its world premiere on 1 February 2014, features video design by Luke Halls and costume design by Anja Vang Kragh. Using projections to evoke Giovanni's state of mind at key points in the drama, the design plays with themes of reality and imagination.

For the exhibition, Es envisaged melding the video design used in the production with conventional video in order to tell the story of the creative people involved in a major new opera production. To achieve this, the process of creating the costumes and dyeing them with ‘ink stains’ was filmed, and the footage projected onto dresses in the main entrance foyer. You can see the full process of dyeing the costumes and the making of Donna Anna's dress on our YouTube channel.

'The projections in the exhibition posed several technical challenges,' says Tom Nelson, ROH Creative Producer. 'We are working in a Grade 1 listed building, in an area with lots of daylight and limited space. There were also concerns about conservation due to the heat dissipation from the projector.’ The exhibition uses a new bright projector by Casio that works at short distances and uses LED-hybrid technology to minimize heat.

'The end result is a really strong visual narrative that has never been achieved before in a Royal Opera House exhibition,' says Tom.

Exhibitions can be visited for free during normal daytime opening at the Royal Opera House, Monday-Friday, 10am–3.30pm. Before making a special visit, please call +44(0)20 7304 4000 to check that the Front of House spaces are open.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

15 December 2014 at 5.42pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Kasper Holten, design, don giovanni, Es Devlin, exhibition, Production

This article has 2 comments

  1. Olivia responded on 13 July 2015 at 3:57pm Reply

    Hi, when is this exhibition running until? thanks!

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 13 July 2015 at 4:04pm

      Hi Olivia,

      The exhibition will run until the end of July 2015 (which is when the 2014/15 Season ends).

      Thanks,

      Chris

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