Medial Stage and Costume Design
The goal of the project was the enhancement of the traditional static stage setting into a reactive and dynamic stage design that plays its own vital role in the narration.
On the stage, large planes were arranged onto which architecture, generated in real-time, was projected. The projection screens formed clipping planes through an imaginary virtual architecture positioned on stage. Machiavelli’s – the opera’s protagonist’s – movements and gestures were camera-tracked, and the virtual architecture moved according to his movements and gestures. This concept allowed linking the staged action and the architecture closely: Machiavelli, as a powerful and dominant character in the play, has power over the stage (and consequently over his co-actors) through the possibilities of interaction given to him.
In addition to the architecture, the costumes of the actors were also augmented with digital media. Via a tracking system developed especially for this opera, digital masks were generated in real-time, according to the silhouettes of the actors. Textures were then pasted onto these masks, and the ensuing “media costumes” were projected to fit exactly onto the singers. This way, it was possible to depict the characters’ conditions and feelings with dynamic textures on their bodies.
Despite the complexity of the software and hardware developed for this project, technology was never at the forefront. The exclusive aim was to generate new ways of expression for the director and the actors.
The project was commissioned by the Opera Biennale Munich in 1999 and premiered in 2002. Composer: André Werner, libretto based on the novel by Christopher Marlowe. The project is a co-production between ART+COM and bureau+staubach, supported by ZKM Karlsruhe. Co-authors and developers: Nils Krueger, Bernd Lintermann, Andre Bernhardt, Jan Schroeder, Andeas Kratky.