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Carmen: More complicated than ever

Carmen: More complicated than ever


It is supposed to be the most elaborate stage design ever presented at Quarry St. Margareten: the backdrops for this year’s production of “Carmen” from “Opera at Steinbruch” are currently being mounted on six huge revolving stages.

“Carmen-Red” dominates when setting the stage in the quarry: the large steel structures were fabricated by the metal construction company Pinterich in Burgenland, which – as envisioned by designer Alessandro Camera – represents an old movie studio. It will constantly change in the course of an opera performance.

Opera at the Carmen Quarry, 2023 (c) Alessandro Camera

stage model

Edelhofer: It was probably the most expensive production

“It is certainly the most complex and probably also the most expensive production we have seen at the quarry,” said Eddie Edelhofer, artistic director of Opera M. Steinbruch. There are six rotating stages in total, and each rotating stage represents a specific scene – one scene depicts a prison, and the other scene depicts a general’s office. To do this, the rotating platforms are rotated 180 degrees. “The technicians will rebuild it in the back and then run everything forward again,” Edelhofer explained.

Photo series with 12 photos

The rotating platforms are moved by human power. The largest of them is eleven meters high and 16 meters in diameter. During the play, transfers take place: for example to the tobacco factory or to the bullring. When the ORF Burgenland team visited the quarry, the barracks decoration was installed. The parts were pre-fabricated and machined in the Vienna workshop, and then you would have the final patina layer in the quarry.

Concrete foundations weighing one ton

Huge superstructures weigh heavy: the stage alone carries the backdrops and stage technology at more than 70 tons. This year, what you can’t see is more complex: concrete foundations weighing several tons were installed in the stage’s infrastructure. You had to be very careful statically so that the buildings wouldn’t be anchored and not get blown around by the wind,” said the production manager of The Art of Winter, Herbert Hurl. Crazy static effort. “The time frame for preparing stage decorations is tight this year. At the end of May, rehearsals for Carmen began at the M. Steinbruch Opera.”

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