I do not honestly know much about opera but I found this stage really interesting. It is the opera Iphigénie en Tauride by Christoph Willibald Gluck that was first performed in Paris on 18 May 1779. It is a drama around a family of complete self-destructs. In this new version, the director Robert Carsen has created something really pure and minimalist, where characters only wear simple white robes or black shirts and pants. The scenery have no unnecessary elements not to distract viewers and to keep focus on the story. The elements used to explain the argument just are swords, chalk, water and light and shadows compositions.
An interesting aspect of Black Swan’s production design is Thomas Leroy’s (Vincent Cassel’s character) adaptation of the Swan Lake ballet. As Leroy says in the beginning of the film, they really strip it down. Swan Lake productions are generally very lush, filled with bystanding (and ultimately useless) characters and overflowingly rich scenarios. But production designer Therese Deprez sheds everything superflous and distracting, recreating the iconic ballet in geometric shapes and light. Coupled with the film’s generally monochromatic color palette and its crucial meaning to the story development, the production design makes a captivating minimalist statement.
nothingtoodoo is the latest work by Beijing-born, Canadian-based artist Terrence Koh. The work is part installation and part performance. It consists of a large mound of white salt, around which Koh circles in a white suit on his knees. Koh has continued this ritual since the opening of the work at Mary Boone Gallery in New York City on the 12th of February, and intends to continue it until its closing on the 19th of March. This kind of duration performance reminds me instantly of Marina Abromovic’s The Artist is Present, which was performed at the Museum of Modern Art midway through last year. Roberta Smith, writing for the New York times, says: This is performance art reduced to a bare and relentless rite in a space that has been stripped down to a kind of temple.
Last year my friend went to see the premiere of Sutra, choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui at Sadlers Wells in London. The collaboration with Shaolin monks from China, Polish composer Szymon Brzóska and Anthony Gormley turned out to be an intense performance. The stage uses just large wooden boxes and shaolin monks, to tell ellaborate stories symbolizing roads, walls, boats, cities and temples from these minimal elements. I hope they will do more performances in the future. See the video on YouTube.