From the first day of taping down the rehearsal space, to costumes, stagehands constructing the set, dancers, singers, to the buzz and excitement of opening night, this behind the scenes look at the making of La Traviata.
The San Diego Opera has been a client of mine for a few years now, and I loved shooting their production stills every season. Before I started working with San Diego Opera, I’d never seen an opera before. I didn’t grow up listening to opera, I was unfamiliar with this world. I was curious what it took to create the performing art so I took this on as a personal project, something fun that I did to tap into my creative side shooting for myself.
I sat down with PR and Marketing Director Edward Wilensky and over lunch, mapped out a schedule that I could photograph all the different aspects of creating an opera. No expectations, I was free to see so many different people working together to make art come to life. This was challenging for me because I was forced to make the kinds of pictures I wanted, and sometimes I wasn’t sure what that looked like. Somedays it was the light in the costume department, the details of a dancers feet, or sitting on the floor during rehearsal and getting goosebumps from the beautiful sounds coming out of the principal singers… Always magic. Opera singers have an otherworldly quality about them, I was mesmerized. I met so many different people – all unique energy. The high and excitement in the air on opening night was addictive, that was one of the best shoots of my life, it felt amazing to be there backstage during that performance.
Thank you to my client, Edward Wilensky, for helping me get access to photograph this project. It was challenging editing this project – I had a hard time selecting which photos to include, because I was emotionally connected to so many of them. Thank you to my colleague Jenna Close for your help with editing. Thank you Sue Morrow for your pep talks and encouragement. Thank you to stage manager Lisa Marie Lange, choreographer Kitty McNamee, costume shop manager Ingrid Helton, and director Martha Domingo for allowing me into your space to document what you do so well.
I discovered the hardest client to work for – myself.