16 May 2014 at 11.44am | Comment on this article
The fourth animation in our Opera Shorts series, set to the duet ‘O soave fanciulla’ from La bohème, was created by Michael Parkin, Edwood Burn and Jacob Read, students on the Illustration and Animation course at Kingston University.
‘When we listened to La bohème, we were struck by the instantaneous yet powerful declaration of love between Rodolfo and Mimì,’ said Edwood. ‘We wanted to play with this by using a tongue-in-cheek narrative, synced with the heartfelt vocals. As such, we have an exaggerated narrative that is stripped back to a very simple visual language, which helps to highlight the tunnel-vision effect of falling in love.’
Prior to starting work on the animation, students on the Illustration and Animation course were invited backstage at the Royal Opera House to immerse themselves in opera and how it is performed and staged.
‘As part of the project we had a peek in at rehearsals at the Royal Opera House. Having never been to a performance before, it was an overwhelming experience. We were mesmerized by the emotionally driven drama, the swelling music and the epic staging. The theatrical devices used were so impressive,’ said Edwood.
To produce the animation, the students used paper cut-outs to create a stop-motion animation, before moving on to post-production.
‘It got pretty fiddly at times – there were many hold-your-breath moments for fear of parts blowing out of place! After a few test runs, we got to the final version. It was a long but enjoyable process, and we’re all really happy with the outcome,’ said Edwood.
The Opera Shorts series is the result of a collaboration with Kingston University, in which the Royal Opera House invited a group of students to immerse themselves in opera and then create an animation. We're releasing one animation each Friday lunchtime on the ROH blog and the ROH YouTube channel. One or two will also be shown at our free outdoor BP Big Screen events this summer.
What do you think of the films and which moments from opera do you think would work well as animations?
To see more footage like this, subscribe to the Royal Opera House YouTube channel: