THE IMPORTANCE OF EXCELLENT LIGHTING: MIUCCIA PRADA and HERZOG & de MEURON’S ENLIGHTENED VISION for VERDI’s ATTILA at THE METROPOLITAN OPERA

“For the vision of the stage design, which we developed with Miuccia Prada (Pierre de Meuron and myself), we decided very early on to be, actually, quite close to Verdi’s description of … Verdi’s vision, which is basically based on two images. On one hand is the rubble, is the destruction, is the destroyed world, that we took very literally, even more literally than Verdi probably did. And there is nature. Nature represented by wild nature. Very strong, powerful nature. So one doesn’t go without the other. And it is a forest that you know from images rather than from your won experience because it should be much more real, almost hyper realistic. Like the forest in fairy tales. In Hansel and Gretel, for instance. was a forest which is both real, scary, symbolic, mystical. We also used the light for the forest, and for the rubble, not as light which is inspired by our individual taste whatsoever, but it should be the light we know from our own memory, like the light that you know from hospitals, from explosions, or the light, the green light military lights. And those lights are being used to enhance this moment of danger, of this kind of steamy, gloomy, jungle type of forest where the light always has this specific character. It’s always very artificial light. So the forest doesn’t have this romantic moment that you find sometimes in art, in paintings, where the light, or the wood, is used as wild energy or, at the same time, as something that promises hope.”Jacques Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron Architects

The Excellent lighting of Attila: Ildar Abdrazakov, top, in the title role, and, from left: Violeta Urmana as Odabella, Ramón Vargas as Foresto, Russell Thomas as Uldino and Samuel Ramey as Leone, at the Metropolitan Opera. Image by Sara Krulwich for The New York Times via nytimes.com.

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