Iphigenia in Tauris
Behind the Scenes
On the Road Again: Building a Set for Seattle and New York
By Robert D. Schaub
Seattle Opera’s new 2007 production of Iphigenia in Tauris spent considerable
time on the road this spring, traveling to and from Manhattan. The show was shipped
to the Metropolitan Opera, our co-producer, in late April for the Met’s technical
trial run in early May. Because of the Met’s vigorous repertory schedule, they are
compelled to preview any of their new productions before they can be folded into
their season. For Seattle Opera Scenic Studios, who built the sets, this meant that
the scenery needed to be substantially completed by mid-April in order to make the
trip, and arrive in five 53-foot semi-trailers, by the first week in May.
The designs were not complete until the first part of January 2007, complicated
by the need to get everything just right, for both theaters. The construction schedule
was very tight—there is over 8,300 square feet of “hard painted surface”—as well as
a number of “tricks,” that are sure to excite the audiences on both coasts. Even with
the tight schedule and complicated specifications, the Scenic Studios was able to meet
the shipping deadline and everything went as planned on the Met stage!
The photos featured here show Seattle Opera staff and Iphigenia’s creative team meeting
and discussing the final realization of the designs at our Scenic Studios in Renton. We bring
the design team, and, of course, Speight, out for review and comments as often as needed
throughout the construction process. It is better to get it right, in the shop, the first
time than to make costly changes on stage; and in this case there are two stages to consider.
The set arrived back in Seattle the first part of June; but we still have the stage deck to
finish and all of the props to build, so the fun is not over yet!
Iphigenia in Tauris loads onto the stage of McCaw Hall on October 2, 2007, and opens on
October 13. Following our presentation, it travels back to New York and opens at the Met on
Robert D. Schaub is Technical and Facilities Director for Seattle Opera.