I was thrilled to hear that I was one of [ETO Director] James Conway’s three chosen designers for ETO’s collaboration with the Linbury Prize. It’s been brilliant meeting Faye and Rosanna too and we’ve already had some fascinating glimpses into the inner workings of ETO, from getting to grips with touring truck dimensions to delving into their costume store under the arches.
Earlier this week, we all got together again to discuss the nitty gritty of this bizarre but beguiling opera. On the one hand, there’s a wonderfully magical and fairy-like quality to the piece, with its exotic setting, miraculous shipwreck survivals and confessions of enduring love. On the other, its characters are wrought with intense and often dark emotions, and beneath the stormy surface rumble more sinister themes of adultery, insanity, slavery and suicide pacts.
The opera is rarely produced and there’s very little written about it, which is actually quite stimulating as it offers us a unique and fresh approach, free from preconceptions dictated by previous productions. We really are beginning with the clichéd blank canvas!