Complemented and enhanced by flora&faunavisions’ video content produced especially for the occasion, Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng’s updated version of Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic tale of love and loss, La Traviata, premiered in the European Capital of Culture, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Shi-Zheng and flora&faunavisions defined a concise visual language that would reflect the production’s edgy costumes, lighting and set design. The flower and tree of the camellia, a plant that only blooms in winter, symbolised the cycle of blossoming love and bloody betrayal, from unfurling petals to rotting roots. The topical themes of consumption, opulence and vulgarity, spinning in a dizzying fairground of bustle and colour, Shi-Zheng’s multimedia visions are framed by flora&faunavisions’ large-scale projections, screened onto a wide variety of backdrops and surfaces: from oversized rear projections spanning the entire back wall to structured partitions covered in layers of transparent fabric and a floor projection synched to the rear projection theme.
One of the undisputed highlights of the opera season, the production received a standing ovation and cemented the ongoing creative partnership between Chen Shi-Zheng and flora&faunavisions.
Whilst on a walk in Vilnius, I came across a 7 m high sculpture of my favourite soap idol, Tony Sporano, in a back yard! It was amazing to be working on a famous, classical opera and then to come across one of my favourite characters. The people in Vilnius were also extremely hospitable and it was clear that they appreciated having the opera take place in their city. - Leigh
Photos by Walt Spangler and Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre