Quantcast Skip to main content

Information 213.972.8001

Blog entries posted during February 2012

Albert Herring Projections

Albert Herring is a rental from Santa Fe Opera where they did not use projections. Los Angeles Opera decided that this production would be enhanced with the addition of newly created projections. Members of the Technical Department worked for three months creating the imagery that would be projected onto the screen.
The images are a combination of still pictures, moving images and animation, and are created on a computer using multiple software applications. The media is then transferred to media servers and control systems for the stage.

Los Angeles Opera Albert Herring

View from media control booth

The media control booth is located at the rear of the orchestra level seating. The operator programs and cues the imagery into the production. Once the final version is programmed for the opening night, the subsequent performances operate simply with the push of a “go” button.
Albert Herring Los Angeles Opera Technical Department

View through Lady Billows set

Los Angeles Opera Albert Herring media projections

View from stage left with the Lady Billows set onstage

The projections are designed to be in proportion to the existing sets. In these views the contoured landscape and miniature houses are seen downstage from the projection screen.

View of 2 projectors from rear stage right (Simon Boccanegra scenery wall is in storage on the side)

 Two 18,000 lumen high definition video projectors are used together to project onto a forty-two foot high by seventy-four foot wide vinyl rear-projection screen. Ten layers of separate video elements were combined to create this one image. The two projectors are utilized to increase intensity and provide back-up in the event of a projector lamp burn out. The lenses are chosen in each case for the specific location of the projectors and the distance to the screen.

Simon Boccanegra Action Props Onstage

In addition to the fight benches, other action props used in Simon Boccanegra include paper maps, charts and letters, hand-held torches and decorative and stage combat swords.

Maps, Charts and Letters
When additional maps and charts were needed to support the onstage action, our props and scenic departments hand-crafted the items using a thirty-six inch laser-jet printer and hand-painted effects. The over-sized maps were photographed and printed at a high resolution on watercolor paper. After printing, the maps were sent to the scenic department for ‘aging’ with light washes of thinned acrylic paint.

LA Opera scenic artist

A scenic artist uses a sponge to apply color to the back of a map

In each performance two laser-printed letters are used. New paper letters are added for the next performance. The maps and charts are replaced when they become soiled or damaged by the action.

Los Angeles Opera Tech Department Simon Boccanegra props

Numerous paper props are used in the Map Room scene

behind the scenes Technical Department Los Angeles Opera

Details of maps, charts and letters on the table in the Map Room

Hand-Held Torches
The self-extinguishing torches we have used at LA Opera throughout our history were developed for the original production of Otello in nineteen eighty-six.
The torches use a non-toxic solid fuel. They burn for fifteen minutes with as much as a sixteen inch tall flame and weigh about two and a half pounds.

special effects Los Angeles Opera Simon Boccanegra behind the scenes

A Populace Fighter tightly grips the “dead-man” switch which if released extinguishes the flame

At the start of each performance nearly thirty torches are preloaded by the prop crew to accommodate the duration of the performance without having to reload.

Simon Boccanegra special effects Los Angeles opera technical department

The final scene of Simon Boccanegra uses eight torches (detail)

Decorative and Stage Combat Swords
Medieval swords are used in the Council Chamber scene. The edges of the swords have been dulled for safety, and include six decorative and fifteen stage combat weapons.

decorative swords la opera combat swords opera props stage combat

Swords backstage in a special sword carrier/cart built by our prop crew

The decorative swords are relatively inexpensive detailed reproductions. The stage combat swords are made of knifemaker’s steel by a bladesmith and are designed with structural integrity to sustain the impact of combat.

Simon Boccanegra props stage combat props

Swords in action during the Council Chamber scene