Shadow Plays: How Lighting Designers Bring an Opera to Vivid Life
Hoile, Christopher, Opera Canada
"DIE STRAHLEN DER SONNNE VERTREIBEN DIE NACHT." SO RUNS THE final chorus in Die Zauberflote, praising the triumph of the powers of light over darkness. In the opera house, those in real control of the powers of light and darkness are often the least-noticed members of the artistic team. These are the lighting designers. What they do makes it possible for us not merely to see an opera but also affects how we see it.
Conversations with four of Canada's top lighting designers--Vancouverite Alan Brodie, Calgary-based Harry Frehner and Kevin Fraser and Michael Whitfield of Stratford, Ontario--reveal a remarkable unity of vision concerning the role of lighting in opera. "The word all four use most often in describing the role of lighting is "support". Lighting constantly lends support to the work in reflecting the nature of both the music and the events on stage.
Lighting designers have various ways of characterizing their work. Brodie, likens his role to that of a film editor, since editing is crucial in determining the focus of an action and how the viewer perceives it. Fraser sees lighting as the glue that holds all the parts of the puzzle together. Whitfield views lighting as painting with light "to create a suitable …
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Publication information: Article title: Shadow Plays: How Lighting Designers Bring an Opera to Vivid Life. Contributors: Hoile, Christopher - Author. Magazine title: Opera Canada. Volume: 44. Issue: 3 Publication date: Fall 2003. Page number: 14+. © 1997 Opera Canada Publications. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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