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UBC Theses and Dissertations

La Bohème : a design Janson, Astrid

Abstract

This thesis is a design for Puccini's opera, La Boheme, which I have set in the 1890’s instead of the l830's in which Puccini originally set it. The main reason for this period change is based on the fact that the music, the spirit, and the characters themselves, seem to fit naturally and appropriately into the glitter, the charm, and the artistic mood of the "gay nineties". I have set the opera on the Metropolitan Opera House stage, and have included-photographs of the half-inch scale model constructed for this purpose. The actual settings are simple, suggesting only the basic architectural necessities, in order to allow the background - a system of projection screens and mirrors, to predominate and filter through the action constantly. In designing the costumes, I have adhered closely to the silhouette of the 1890's, exaggerating, simplifying, or emphasizing particular elements in order to heighten their dramatic effect. I have assigned specific, restricted colour schemes to the characters which I considered appropriate and in character. Although I did not rely entirely on artistic works, the majority of the research into the period is centred around the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, and Utrillo, as well as the lithographs and posters of Lautrec, Cheret, and other turn-of-the-century artists. The thesis also includes technical drawings and a lighting layout, section, and instrument schedule. Generally speaking, charm, simplicity, and a romantic mood, are the qualities for which I strove in the design of the opera.

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