Iphigenia in Tauris

Behind the Scenes

On the Road Again: Building a Set for Seattle and New York

By Robert D. Schaub

Scenic Studios crew loads Iphigenia sets onto a truck bound for New York

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.

Schaub, scenic designer Thomas Lynch, and lighting designer Neil Peter Jampolis

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!

Seattle Opera General Director Speight Jenkins, Jampolis, Lynch, and Scenic Studios manager Michael Moore

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 November 27.

Robert D. Schaub is Technical and Facilities Director for Seattle Opera.

Photo Credit

© Dave Crouse photo

© Bill Mohn Photo

© Bill Mohn Photo