In early 2016 Opera Queensland engaged Iceworks Design for drafting and set construction of their new co-production with Seattle Opera and NZ Opera “The Barber of Seville”. We’ve worked with Opera Queensland on a variety of projects over the past few years. This project saw us collaborating with multi-award winning designer Tracy Grant Lord from New Zealand.
Tracy’s stunning design excited us at the opportunity to really flex our skills in delivering a highly complex stage set for a long term touring production. The project required extensive detailed construction drawings & 3D modelling to bring the set to life, and to be road-ready for the tour.
Tracy’s design comprised of three two storey high set pieces featuring dozens of different architecturally styled doors arrayed all throughout the set in varied orientations. The multi-level pieces needed to be lightweight for touring, yet structurally strong to perform the tasks required for the cast & crew.
We partnered with our trusted supplier Gilrow Engineering, metal fabricators, who are always up to the challenges the production industry provides, to construct the set tower frames, bridges, stairs and flat frames from aluminium. The Iceworks workshop then took over with the sheeting of all the metal work in plywood including the construction of all doors and custom prop furnishings.
Since Tracy’s design featured many different styled doors, wall and floor treatments, the scenic art finishing was something that we decided to approach differently than usual. As the design was very specific in the finishing, we decided that digital prints provided a consistent and hard wearing option for the pieces. This meant Tracy’s original design could be reproduced at full scale exactly how it was envisaged, and also allowed for a simplified “on tour” repair solution should the need arise. Armed with 25gb of 365 different print files, a quick call to a local digital printer would resolve any issues fast, allowing the touring crew to manage the set without needing to find local scenic artists to repair any elements that may get damaged. This also ensured that from the day it left our factory to the day it is retired, the set will maintain its finish as per the original design.
With the intricate scenic graphic design works complete, we engaged our long-term printing provider Griffith Graphics to deliver the 280 square metres of printing the set required - the result was magnificent and the set was now complete and ready for transport to the rehearsal studio at Opera Queensland. The stage floor artwork was a hand painted A3 size canvas by Tracy of a forced perspective checker pattern, which we scanned at high resolution to then scale up for printing. A call to our friends at Flash Graphics to flatbed print the floor sheets of 9.5mm white primed weathertex, totalling a further 102 square metres, provided fantastic results once again.
Since completing its Australian tour this year, Opera Queensland’s “The Barber of Seville” production is set to tour to Seattle in the USA next year, and on to New Zealand in 2018.
Browse below for photos of the production in full swing, some short features on Tracy and our construction partners, and some more photos of the set construction process.
The Barber of Seville production © OPERA QUEENSLAND 2016. Show photography © Stephen Henry.