How do you compare contemporary stage design for big stadium shows – Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West – to stage design for opera and classical works?
There’s a big difference: When we work for a live show what’s important is creating something new and spectacular. Each song is a different world. But when we work for an opera, what’s important is the dramaturgy: all the elements that we use must be completely related to the story. The technologies are the same, but in an opera we must work to create a perfect balance between music, story and images.
There has been a trend of people going to see opera in movie theatres. It seems with ‘virtual scenographies’ that you are trying to bring people back out to the ‘real’ theatres. Where do you think opera will go in 2019?
With Davide Livermore, the director of Aida, we are working for the opening season at La Scala. It’s an opera that’s in the theatre but also a TV show transmitted in cinemas. What we are doing is creating an opera that could be a movie, using the visual language of the cinema to tells the story of Attila from Verdi. It's a perfect mix of opera and movie, with virtual scenography and real scenes. We hope it can be a new way to do an opera.
Opera Australia’s production of Aida is showing in the Joan Sutherland Theatre until 31 August 2018. Get tickets here.