Ahead of English National Opera's presentation of The Dream of Gerontius at Royal Festival Hall, lighting designer and director Lucy Carter gives an insight to the concept behind the performance.
You created the concept, designs and staging for The Dream of Gerontius – can you tell us about your vision?
The concept for this concert performance is to use light to create an additional layer of emotion and energy that supports and reflects the music. There will be detailed lighting textures playing above and over the orchestra, choir and singers that gives the audience a visceral visual experience in addition to the aural one that exists in the score.
The Dream of Gerontius was created in 1900 based on a poem from 1865, and much of its imagery was derived from Dante’s Divine Comedy, from 1320. Is your staging influenced by historical context? What sort of research do you do?
When working on a religious piece like this I have been very influenced by the classical images of light in religious art and of course the Divine Comedy is one of those. I did a large amount of research into religious symbolism as well. The lighting environments will be non-naturalistic, suggestive of mood and emotion as opposed to trying to represent location or reality.
Tell us about your background as a designer.
I am a lighting designer and I have been working in theatre for 25 years. I came from a dance background and work extensively in dance and ballet as well as opera and theatre. In the last few years I have been exploring lighting design that could be considered as light installation. This production is reflective of that and is a further exploration of this type of work, where light is the main or only visual element used to portray the story or evoke the visual atmospheres.
The Dream of Gerontius is presented by English National Opera at Royal Festival Hall, 1-2 July.