5 May 2014 at 4.28pm | Comment on this article
The first film in our Opera Short series, based on La traviata’s ‘Libiamo ne’ lieti calici’ or Brindisi, was created by Ellie Pritchard, Alice Stewart and Luisa Crosbie, students on the Illustration and Animation course at Kingston University.
‘We chose La traviata because it had a clear narrative and we liked the simplicity of the back and forth interaction between the two characters; we thought that this matched well with the style of modern communication,’ says Alice. ‘After discovering that one in five relationships now begin online, we thought that this was an appropriate place to start updating the opera to a contemporary context,’ says Alice.
To create the short, the students mixed live action with animation.
‘We used a standard DSLR camera in a photography studio with lights and rigging structures. We set up a stage that was made of glass on trestles, which became the desk in the film, and filled the space with various objects that alluded to the different characters - it was a challenge to keep it as simple as possible while still communicating our idea,' says Ellie. 'We shot from underneath to capture the bottom of the hands. We then used Adobe Premiere and After Effects for editing and animation, and we made the keyboard image in Photoshop. It was nice to make something physical and put it through a digital process afterwards because it meant that we had the most amount of control over the outcome.’
Before starting the film, students on the Illustration and Animation course were invited to the Royal Opera House to find out more about opera and how it was made.
‘It was a really good idea to immerse ourselves in the operatic experience before properly starting the project,’ says Luisa. ‘We were impressed by the scale of opera and this helped us to think about how we could compact the experience down to a much smaller, everyday stage, such as a desk or a phone screen. We also loved the expressive gestures, which gave us the idea of using hands as the primary characters of our film.’
The Opera Shorts series is a collaboration between the Royal Opera House and Kingston University in which we invited a group of students to create an animation inspired by an opera. We will publish a total of six films.
We are releasing one animation each Friday lunchtime on the ROH blog and the ROH YouTube channel. You may also spot one or two of these films if you come along to one of our free outdoor BP Big Screen events this summer.
View the other films in our Opera Shorts series.
What do you think of the films and which moments from opera do you think would work well as animations?