Hudson, Richard (5 of 7) An Oral History of Theatre Design
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2006-12-15, 2007-07-25, 2008-04-04
Interviewee's studio, London
Hudson, Richard 1954- (speaker, male)
Wright, Elizabeth (speaker, female)
Part 5: First work at Glyndebourne; ‘Pique Dame’ by Tchaikovsky, the last production in the old theatre; invitation to design ‘Eugene Onegin’ with GV in the new theatre. Further designs at Glyndebourne: ‘Hermione’ by Rossini, Mozart Da ponte operas; ‘Manon L’Escaut’ [ML] by Puccini. Costume department at Glyndebourne run by Tony Ledell; his knowledge; his contribution in costume fittings; wig department run by Barbie Burrows; Apollo Knot wigs for ML. Standards at Glyndebourne; technical director, Peter Horne; quality of productions at Glyndebourne; chorus; pleasure of working there. Designing for the new space while it was in the process of being built; advantages of the new space in comparison with the old one. Process of staging ‘Eugene Onegin’; mention that it is being re-staged; simple set for this; device for telling the story with travelling curtains; staging of second act using rooms on two levels. Practicalities of the curtains; staging the opera without long pauses between the scenes. Finding solutions to problems; list at the beginning of LK; use of historical theatre techniques; comments about the audience being in on the tricks in LK, such as the shimmering sun; experimenting with this; use of light boxes in the wings. Carrying out experiments in the studio, Broadway theatres and a university campus; learning about traditional theatre techniques at WSA; visit to Drottningholm Palace Theatre. Design for the second act of MC, which takes place backstage at a theatre; research into 1920s scenery and lighting equipment. [0:22:07] First working with GV with YS on ‘Euridice’ at the Riverside Studios, then on ‘La Vie Parisienne’ at Scottish Opera. Description of GV as a director; his passion for opera and musical knowledge; spending lots of time developing ideas with him. Using the same set for several productions; description of the set; staging ‘Così fan tutte’ like a rehearsal in this space; development of costumes and change of colour from black to white in ‘The Marriage of Figaro’; using the same room as though it had been abandoned for ‘Don Giovanni’; vulgar eighteenth century costumes for this; ending in which Don Giovanni into hell. Reasons for using the same basic set and description of different themes of love across all three operas.
Life story interview with Richard Hudson (1954-), theatre designer.