Piccard in Space
I created visuals for Will Gregory’s debut Opera “Piccard in Space” premiered at the Ether Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre on April 30th / May 1st, 2011.
Will Gregory’s debut opera is a classic adventure about the brilliant physicist, Auguste Piccard. On a mission to prove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, he takes to the skies with his assistant in an airtight capsule. Travelling to a record-breaking 51,000 feet, they survive being roasted by the sun, toxic balls of mercury and crashing into the Alps. Clearly not a blackboard and chalk type of scientist, Piccard became world front-page news in 1931 and the inspiration for Hergé’s cartoon character Professor Calculus in The Adventures of Tintin series.
Composer Will Gregory, Libretto Hattie Naylor, Video Design Kathy Hinde, Director Jude Kelly, Conductor Charles Hazlewood
Performed by: BBC Concert Orchestra, Will Gregory Moog Ensemble, and Kipfer’s Cosmic Choir. With soloists: Andrew Shore as Auguste Piccard, Robin Tritschler as Paul Kipfer, Leigh Melrose as Einstein, Nicholas Clapton as Newton, Mary Plazas as Madame Kipfer
I must raise a glass to the incredible Howie Bailey who did a considerable amount of quartz composer programming for the visuals, completely taking them to another level. He built in lots of interactive cleverness so I could manipulate everything live with the music, continually doing more than I asked for and being brilliant. More credit goes to Luke Trowsdale for his excellent 3D modelling of Piccard’s capsule. The dancing Einstein and skeletons were performed by Stephen Salinger, and Kipfer’s face was animated by Adrienna Meirelles.
The visuals were projected onto 3 screens. A large semi-circular screen in the centre, to mirror the shape of the raked stage and 2 smaller round screens at each side, slightly offset. Here are some stills from the visuals, as projected, but not in the context or scaled as they were seen in the live performance.
I was really pleased with how the visuals complemented Will’s amazing opera, here are a few press quotes about the visuals…
“Kathy Hinde’s video is brilliant and often beautiful, such as in the crystal formations that dance on the balloon capsule’s porthole as the temperature dives.” Tristram Kenton, The Guardian
“The evening had its pleasures, foremost amongst them (and I never thought I’d say this) the video contributions of Kathy Hinde. Throughout the performance her humorous, inventive images were projected onto a giant semicircle and two planet-like discs placed above the orchestra.” Mark Valencia, Classical Source