Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Creating "The Scarlet Letter"

Many people do not realize the immense amount of detail work required to create a new production of a standard piece of repertoire let alone build a production of a brand new opera that has never been heard. Last Friday, we flew The Scarlet Letter set and costume designers to Denver for a final design meeting.

Set designer Erhard Rom made a full presentation of the set he has created for our production, sharing with us sketches of the set along with preliminary construction drawings. The set consists of two angular walls which pivot to create the closed, repressed environment of a Puritan meeting house or open space for outdoor scenes. With the set design solidified, we can now take the construction drawings and begin to bid out the set construction to ensure that it comes within our established budget. If not, value engineering takes place.

Costume designer Terese Wadden shared with us her well thought out costume designs as well. We wanted costumes that hinted at Puritan society but did not become a caricature of Puritans sitting around the Thanksgiving table. Terese’s designs take their inspiration from the traditional austerity of Amish and Mennonite dress, with women in simple black or grey dresses and men in traditional black suits and broad brimmed hats.

It is truly exciting to see this World Premiere production begin to come together after more than a year of planning and discussions with Lori Laitman the composer, Beth Greenberg the director, and our wonderful design team.

By: Greg Carpenter, General Director

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