The design team operates like a bridge between the artistic team of a production and the Workshops that will create the scenery.
It is the first step in the creation of the scenery, the place where a director’s dreams become reality, where the model gets a feasibility study and is turned into an architectural plan, and where the choice of materials is made.
About a year before opening night, the director and the set designer present their project to the teams of La Monnaie with the help of a model.
The architects of the research team then formulate plans and feasibility studies that take into account the dimensions and capabilities of the stage. They face both aesthetic and technical challenges. They then remain in contact with the different workshops, guiding them in their work. The scenery must not only meet the wishes of the artistic team but must also be secure and solid enough to accommodate singers and performers, often in great numbers, who must be able to move about safely and with ease.
The set is first installed in a special Scenery Assembly Room, then on the stage by the stagehands. These steps are also monitored closely by the design team.
For Norma, the director Christophe Coppens envisioned no fewer than seven different cars onstage! The scenery included exceptional elements such as a sculpture made of car parts. Particular attention was paid to the weight (a whopping 1.5 tonnes!) of this construction, which was suspended above the Stage.
The models made by the artistic teams are above all a tool for our Workshops, which are tasked with transforming the model into full-scale scenery. They come in a variety of forms, and they are the first glimpse of the artistic world envisioned by the director. La Monnaie’s Archives and Collections team works to ensure the preservation of these models, which constitute a collection in their own right.
The oldest 3D model in our collections is the one that was made for La Fille de Madame Angot (1957). It offers an insight into how the set designers used to create their models at the time: a site plan with a series of elements placed in the different parts of the stage.
Three models for Pelléas et Mélisande that evoke three worlds and three different interpretations of the opera.