‘And the rest is projection’ – changing perspectives and augmenting reality in Der Freischütz, Vienna State Opera
A new production of Der Freischütz has opened at Vienna State Opera, directed by Christian Räth with Set and Costume designs by Gary McCann, Lighting by Thomas Hase and video and projections by Nina Dunn. The team was re-united after their previous highly successful collaboration on Verdi’s Macbeth in 2015.
The brief for the video on this opera was rather unique: the key purpose of the imagery was to extend and the set, changing perspective and location whilst all the time seamlessly matching to and blending from the physical set. This meant re-creating the set complete with changes for every lighting cue on stage and at times matching moving set pieces and adding elements to the settings such as trees, skies, birds and fire.
The look was so successful that many audience members only perceived the show to contain recognisable video during the overture and for certain effects. Even during technical rehearsals, several members of the team found it hard to tell the difference between the real set and the virtual on occasion.
Here are some images that show the set under working light vs under stage light with projections (Photographs: Nina Dunn):
The challenge was a satisfying one to meet and would not have been possible without close collaboration across departments. It was some of the most detailed yet invisible work that designer, Nina, has carried out but trie to form, is mostly invisible when it’s working as it should! The wider content team included animators Paul Roberts, Letty Fox and Daniel Denton.
The show was broadcast on ORF Austrian Television during June and runs in rep during the Summer and Autumn of 2018.