Monday, December 18, 2017

Turandot Refurbished

David Hockney's production of Turandot looked especially great this past fall at San Francisco Opera, and various press and audience materials mentioned that it had been refurbished. The latest edition of the Backstage with Matthew newsletter tell us why:
In April this year, we discovered with horror that our legendary Turandot production had sustained major water damage and had to be drastically remediated and, in part, rebuilt, during the summer. Our productions are currently stored in shipping containers on Treasure Island, and the combination of rust, salt water, and sweating inside the containers has led to major problems in our scenic storage. We are in the process of rehousing our scenery, but the refurbishment of Turandot was a major triumph for the production department, including our scenic facility in Burlingame. They lovingly researched and recreated the stunning painted drops, giving us a bold and vital new look at this iconic David Hockney production.

(The new issue of Backstage with Matthew isn't on the SF Opera web site yet, but you can read previous issues here.)


Sacto OperaFan said...

Hi Lisa,

Am glad SFO has restored the Hockney Turandot set. I was thinking they were going to retire it as the recent Chicago Lyric Turandot set lists it as a co-production w/SFO. It has a large dragon that wraps around the 2nd Act srt...looks really cheesy if you ask me.

I was told that SFO has decided to keep the Hockney around for a little longer. I actually went twice this season to see this production thinking it would be the last outing. Shame that beautiful sets like this one can't be housed in a museum for future viewing. I'm sure there are peeps who will disagree with me, but I like this set as it has a fairy tale atmosphere to it and to me it's a place where the evil Turandot could exist.

I understand LA Opera has a Hockeny designed FROSH set....wonder what condition that one is in as it probably hasn't seen the light of day in decades if its still around.

Just thought I'd add my appreciation for the Hockney set.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yes, it's a co-production, but LOC's recent / current bring-up used some other production, I guess, since they overlapped.

There are probably set models, or were at one time, for the production. Those would work very well in a museum. (The Wagner Museum that's on the grounds of Haus Wahnfried in Bayreuth has dozens of set models on display, going back to the 19th c. Several are mislabled. :)

A few photos from the LAO FROSCH: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Anonymous said...

The Hockney FROSCH was a co-production with the Royal Opera, so there are lots if images online -- just look for them.

I liked it very much. It had two runs in LA, and both times I went twice. It was very colorful, of course, although one set disappointed me: the Empress's big scene toward the end was staged on a bare black set, with only a brightly colored cartoon cutout of a fountain. To me this scene requirs a gigantic stage effect of some kind, since it is the magical climax of the opera.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I agree completely about that scene! When I saw the Met's current FROSCH four years ago, I ranted about the fact that they don't stage that scene correctly. Of all the scenic effects in the show, it's comparatively easy to do, and the score has clear stage directions. Here's my complaining, in fact.