NEW YORK, NY
A multi-media conception of Wagner’s TRISTAN AND ISOLDE was created by Esa-Pekka Salonen, musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Peter Sellars, stage director, and Bill Viola, video artist and performed with the Lost Angeles Philharmonic.
The Avery Fisher Hall stage was extended to accommodate the large orchestra and the singers; the chorus was in the top balcony, and soloists occasionally sang from the balconies as well. A projection screen 19 feet tall and 32 feet wide was suspended over the orchestra for Mr. Viola’s high-definition video, and additional overhead screens and monitors carried the English supertitles.
Mr. Viola said: "The images tell the inner story in a similar way the music tells the inner story of the emotional and, I would say, spiritual life of these people."
We designed the screen support to be nearly invisible, so the screen hovered over the stage. It played in portrait mode and in landscape mode, changing a vista, in full view of the audience, with a slow, larghetto movement. The change was made with no apparent motive force and no stagehands visible.
Two small penetrations were made in the concert hall ceiling for support points, minimizing the loss of the acoustically reflective ceiling, and new structural supports were established in the attic above the ceiling. The design and implementation was coordinated with the Hall’s acoustical consultants, engineering consultants, and technical crew.
Two high powered projectors were aligned pixel-to-pixel and placed in the house, enclosed to minimize the noise from the projectors, and provided with cooling to prevent overheating the enclosed projectors. Two projectors were used to brighten the image and to provide redundancy in case of catastrophic failure of one projector. The time clock on the images could be varied, controlled by a video operator, to keep pace with the particular timing of the live operatic performance.