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UAL Research Online

Wagner's ring cycle

Hudson, Richard (2005) Wagner's ring cycle. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Hudson, Richard

These designs for Wagner's 'Ring Cycle' are the result of a four-year collaborative research process with the director Phyllida Lloyd. The research questions addressed involved finding ways to present an opera of the epic dimensions and the mythical associations of the 'Ring Cycleâ'on a domestic scale.

Hudson was interested in exploring the dramatic conventions of 'soap opera' and looking at ways of applying them to 'grand' opera on the stage of the Coliseum. Facing the design problems of how to create the small and the particular in a space as vast as the Coliseum and enable it to be read by an audience; and how to concentrate and focus audience attention to enable the retelling of the familiar story of a 'family' who just happen to be Gods in an unfamiliar way, Hudson constructed a series of moving screens to shutter the space and frame the action exploring the ways in which the voyeuristic conventions of the proscenium stage might be exploited to give the audience glimpses into the private worlds of the protagonists in this case scaled down to domestic interiors.

The costumes were contemporary, each character very precisely identified by what they wore. The supernatural was made apparent by the use of light sometimes emanating from within the set, and sometimes from outside. The 'Cycle' was performed in English and Hudson's research explored ways in which space could be organised to enhance the auditory reception of the work while simultaneously presenting a world in which both the mortals and the Gods were recognisable characters that the audience could identify with.

Other Contributors:
DirectorLloyd, Phyllida
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Research interests:

The relationship between design and direction in the performing arts (particularly Opera), and the use of unusual materials and techniques on the stage.

Born in Zimbabwe. Educated in Zimbabwe and Wimbledon School of Art. Assisted Nicholas Georgiadis and Yolanda Sonnabend. Has since designed productions for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court Theatre, Almeida and Gate Theatres, Royal Opera, Royal Ballet, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera,Vienna State Opera, Metropolitan Opera New York, Chicago Lyric Opera, La Fenice Venice, Maggio Musicale Florence, Opera National de Paris, La Scala Milan, La Monnaie Brussels, Bregenz Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, and many more. Also designed The Lion King for Disney on Broadway, and in London, Tokyo, Hamburg, Paris, Shanghai, Sydney and all over the world.

Current Research:

The use of aluminium bead curtains instead of conventional gauzes as a material to obfuscate and reveal images on stage during a performance of a ballet. The bead curtains have the advantage that the performers can pass through them.
The use of black and white paint to render intricate, layered, bas-relief textures on flat horizontal and vertical surfaces.
The use of different materials and forms of pleating to create costumes that suggest the era of the 1920's and are suitable for use in dance.
Designing the same opera twice (La Forza del Destino by Guisseppe Verdi) with two very different directors, in two very different theatres (the Vienna State Opera and the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels).
Designing a new opera based on a 1960's film (Divorzio all'Italiana, composed by Giorgio Battistelli for the Opera de Nancy, France).

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: 2 April 2005
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 19:16
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2011 15:50
Item ID: 1909
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1909

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