As the director, I have been working with the set and costume designer, Max, for the last few months. In our many conversations, we have made decisions about the best way to tell the story of the opera, and about what the production will look like.
The libretto (that is, the words of the opera) for Count Ory is slightly tricky, and has therefore presented various challenges to us which we have had to confront and answer. Various factors specific to this project have also guided the choices we have made: a very large chorus, school children, a venue which isn’t a traditional theatre, the budget for the design, etc. We knew from the beginning that we had to find a way to present the story in the clearest way possible, given these ingredients.
Perhaps the most important decisions we had to make were the place (or places) and the time in which the opera would be set. Once we had decided on these, it helped guide us in our choices of sets, props and costumes.
Now that we’ve started rehearsals, my job has changed a bit. My focus now is on helping the performers to work out who their characters are, what they are thinking, and what they might do during the action of the opera. I’m working with the music director, Nick, to find how the music influences and supports the decisions we make.