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UAL Research Online


Hudson, Richard (2001) Tamerlano. [Art/Design Item]

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

This project continues the long established collaborative relationship between Hudson and Director Graham Vick. It was concerned with exploring the ways in which scenography might be employed to enhance a contemporary audience’s engagement and reception of the highly stylised musical structures of the operatic work of George Frederick Handel.

Hudson drew on influences from Indian, Turkish and Iranian sources, particularly Indian and Persian miniatures, textiles and ceramics to ground the production in the lands of Tamburlaine’s conquest. He experimented with scale, the juxtaposition of the monumental and the human creating a world dominated by a vast sphere, at once literal and abstract pitting the human body against a geometry of sharp colour and precise symbolism. The costumes presented a hybrid of eighteenth century European and the Oriental, brilliantly coloured and minutely detailed, in contrast to the simple minimalism of the set.

Tamerlano is structured as a series of arias and long recitatives with little action and this can be alienating for a modern audience. Hudson sought ways to echo this musical structure, whose forward movement is at times almost imperceptible, by staging a visual subtext of slow background activity that supported the performers without detracting from their presence on stage. A procession of miniature blue elephants in the distance, culminating in the stately arrival of a life-size elephant on the forestage, the slow, diagonal progression of the shadow of the globe across the set and the gradual descent of the globe being examples of some of the ways in which these questions were addressed.

Other Contributors:
DirectorVick, Graham
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: 8 May 2001
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 19:18
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2011 15:50
Item ID: 1910
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1910

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