Parlando: The COC Blog


From Sketch to Mock-up

After collecting inspirational images and drawing sketches of the design elements for a new production, the next step is frequently to create some kind of mock-up, or prototype, of what the finished piece will look like. The mock-ups could be constructed from paper, cardboard, styrofoam, or other easily-available materials. The prop and scene builders are at work constructing the pieces of The Magic Flute, our new production opening in Winter 2011. Here's a look at what they're building.

This photo shows a drawing of an ornate candelabrum, with the necessary measurements specified. Attached to it are pieces of paper that will be used to construct the prop:



Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (2) / permalink


John Adams on Nixon in China

Nixon in China is the only opera in our mainstage season written by a currently living composer, and the only opera depicting relatively recent history (as opposed to, say, the exploits of Tudor-era royalty or Roman emperors). This has an interesting effect on the experience of preparing and learning about the opera. Unlike with Maria Stuarda, we can compare the costume designs to photographs of what Nixon and Mao were actually wearing during that week in 1972 (a Google image search for "Pat Nixon China" will turn up dozens of pictures of a red coat similar to what you'll find in our production photographs). We can immediately recall how Richard Nixon spoke and carried himself by watching videos of his speeches on YouTube. And, unlike Mozart or Wagner, we can see the composer on YouTube as well and hear him comment on his own work.

In the video below, John Adams, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of Nixon in China, discusses the structure of the opera, the importance of its female characters, and his take on the personalities of Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao. I encourage anyone interested in learning more about Nixon in China to explore the wealth of materials available on YouTube, which include interviews like the one below, footage of Nixon's visit, and copious excerpts from other productions of the opera itself.

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (0) / permalink


First Steps for The Magic Flute

When creating a new production, one step of the process is the accumulation of drawings, diagrams, fabric samples, and inspirational images into a series of production "bibles"—binders where everything can be centrally stored. Our new production of The Magic Flute is currently being built in our prop shop, scene shop, and costume shop, and the "bibles" are filling up with imagery and materials. I had the opportunity to thumb through the props bible for The Magic Flute, and have some images to share. For costume sketches and maquettes (mock-ups of the stage and set), see our Magic Flute Photo Gallery.

Papageno the bird-catcher is drawn here along with the birdcages he carries.




In Act I, scene iii, Tamino plays his magic flute hoping to find Pamina, but instead the flute calls forth a series of magically tamed animals, some of which are depicted here:


Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (2) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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