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UAL Research Online

The Makropoulous case

Hudson, Richard (2006) The Makropoulous case. [Art/Design Item]

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

Moving away from the recent expressionistic interpretations of ‘The Makroupolis Case’, Hudson set out to explore the ways in which the conventions of naturalism would affect a contemporary audience’s reading of this work. Playing with the notion of ‘the shock of the old’ and in the context of the Lefebvre’s work on ‘The Production of Space’, Hudson was interested in the ways in which audiences acclimatised to the eclectic mix of post-modern design would respond to a detailed realistic staging.

By researching and rooting his designs in the 1920s, the decade in which the opera was written, Hudson played with layers of presentation and representation. Utilising the conventions of naturalism Hudson created a series of meticulously observed representational spaces. Encoded in the design were subtle visual threads that linked the three acts; a set of tall bookcases in the first act are mirrored in the second by a set of tall flats; the proscenium arch in the second act becomes an arched entrance into a bedroom in the third.

In rehearsal each word of the libretto was thoroughly investigated and Hudson sought to echo this detail in every aspect of the scenography to enable the visual expression of the work to have equal resonance. His aim was to dislocate the action and accentuate the surrealism embedded within the plot, thus re-creating the shock and subversive impact of the original production for a contemporary audience.

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: 7 October 2006
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
The Royal Danish Opera Company, Copenhagen
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 19:25
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2011 15:50
Item ID: 1912
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1912

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