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Get set for a visual treat

Take a look at an online exhibition of set designs from the 1960s onwards with photos by James McDougall.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

30 September 2011 at 1.53pm | 2 Comments

If you've ever found yourself gawping at the sheer spectacle onstage at the Royal Opera House, then this new online highlights exhibition courtesy of the Collections department by photographer James McDougall should set your pulse racing.

The photographer took technical photographs for nearly all Royal Ballet and Royal Opera productions as well as some by Birmingham Royal Ballet between 1963 and the early 2000s prior to his death in 2007. These photographs are used by the production team when staging revivals. James's collection of work was recently generously donated to the Collections department who are charged with archiving over 200 years of history at the Royal Opera House.

Whilst originally created as a reference tool, they provide a fascinating history of set design and the changes in style over five decades.

The online highlights exhibition was created by members of the Cultural Quarter Programme

View the full selection of highlights

What's your favourite set you've seen at the Royal Opera House? Tell us via the comments below...

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

30 September 2011 at 1.53pm

This article has been categorised Exhibition and tagged Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Cultural Quarter Programme, design, James McDougall, opera, Photography, set, stage

This article has 2 comments

  1. Kathleen Fauquenot responded on 30 September 2011 at 10:01pm Reply

    The set of "Manon" is beautiful and full of contrast, between the richness of warm colours (nice orange and golden hues) at the inn and in Des Grieux lodgings and the stark coldness of blue and white hues of the American colony. This is reinforced by the nature of the furnitur also, where everything seems so soft, comfortable and of texture, whereas the port is naked, just as is the gaoler's office. However, my favourite set is the bayou, where the branches of the trees become ghosts of the past, enslaving Manon and Des Grieux in a prison made of memories, phantoms and a life that could have been happy. The damps turn into a deathbed that even love cannot fight. It brings the story to its climax and subtly support MacMillan's beautiful and full of pain choreography. Life has become a nightmare, and nature has transformed its beauty into a frightening grin.

  2. Andrew Page responded on 13 January 2012 at 3:20pm Reply

    James McDougall was a good friend and I am delighted to see the site as a memorial to him as I never got to see an obituary.
    My favourite set was Jean Pierre Ponelle's design for the first scene in Rossini's Cenerentola.

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