Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's Opera, Doc?

Paul DiPierro

Forget Bugs Bunny. Animation is now being used in real operas.
The use of computer animation in opera is a growing trend – it offers a broader artistic palette for set design, and for many companies it is also a savvy cost-cutting move. At the Sacramento Opera, animator Paul DiPierro, 26, is charged with supplying eight to 15 scenic projections for "Orlando."

He will compose images on a digital tablet by using Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Maya. The images will be projected on a large screen and are the equivalent of matte paintings. The images will not be animations, although animated images may be in the works for Sacramento Opera productions, DiPierro said.

"Down the line that is something that I think we will definitely be doing. The company has shown interest in using them for the 'Magic Flute.' "

DiPierro believes that the possibilities are limitless with computer-animated imagery.

"Imagine performers interacting with a fire-breathing dragon, or caught in the middle of a thundering avalanche."

Although that idea sounds far-fetched, opera companies have been doing just that, including Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy, which used an animated sequence of a horse moving in a fog bank for a 2006 production of "Dido and Aeneas."

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