It’s Opera time…

It’s week four of the spring term which means just one thing…the opera has taken over the design realisation workshops!

The upcoming production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro opens in a month’s time in our Silk Street Theatre with the fit-up starting just a week and a half away.  This means that all three of the design realisation workshops are focussing their attention on building and painting the scenery and props for what is bound to be another brilliant Guildhall School Opera. 

The props department is currently dominated by a series of 7 meter trees stretching through the space.  The  team have been sculpting and texturing polystyrene which has been fixed to large lengths of timber and painted to look like tree trunks.  The process is quite a long one with texture being applied and working into to create the bark effect.  Layers of paint give the trees more character and a mossy feel and some branches have been added to give the impression of realistic trees that stretch far beyond what the audience will see.  There are seven of these tree to make so the props team have their hands full as they also have several other props to make including a traditional Adirondack chair and a pair of gilded eagles which will adorn the tops of flagpoles.  It is fair to say that the props department are going to be busy for the next couple of weeks but as usual it’ll be interesting too.  I’ll be sure to get some photos!

In the paintshop the scenic art team have been working on one of the cloths for the Opera.  The basement cloth is painted to look like a wall of shutter concrete that has been cast in wooden moulds which has left a wood grained relief on the surface of the concrete.  This is an interesting process for the scenic artists as they are utilising their knowledge of woodgraining techniques but considering the different material for things like colour and texture.  Here are some photos of the cloth in progress where you can see how they have used dragging techniques and washes to achieve the finished result. 

Noises of grinders and metal cutters coupled with sparks of bright blue welcome us into the world of scenic construction.   The construction team are all currently clad in overalls, gloves and ear defenders at the moment as they are working primarily with steel building the scenery for the opera.  Third year Ceri and second year design realisation student Jenny have been welding ceiling pieces for the set.  As the frames are longer than a length of steel, Ceri welded extension pieces onto the end of the box section (with the use of a fancy jig for holding all the elements straight and square) which form the sides of the frames for the ceiling, which Jenny and Ceri have been welding today.  Here are some photos of the girls welding…I do love a welding photo, can you guess?

It’ll be a fast-paced week this week with lots of interesting makes so stay tuned for updates on how the opera is panning out!

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