Scenography in context : a comparative analysis of the influences on set designs for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute (1791) with specific reference to selected set designers.
The aim of this dissertation is to comparatively analyse the set designs for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1756-1791) opera, The Magic Flute (1791), with specific reference to selected set designers from the 18th to the early 21st century. The selection was made in light of each set designer’s unique design concepts for The Magic Flute which were all realised as stage settings in a proscenium arch theatre. In order to analyse the designs, it is necessary to trace theatrical practices and chronologically examine the reforms that affected the visual and spatial representation of scenography from the 18th to the 20th Chapter one provides a brief overview of the development of the proscenium arch stage. It examines the architectural reforms that were made to the proscenium arch in order to accommodate deeper stages and changes in stage settings. In addition, Chapter one investigates methods that theatre architects used to alter the proscenium arch and forestage in order to create a unity between the audience members and the performance. century. The set designs for The Magic Flute by Emanuel Johann Schikaneder (1791), Karl Friederich Schinkel (1816), David Hockney (1978) and William Kentridge (2007) will be analysed within the context of this investigation. Chapter two further considers the architectural modifications that were made to the stage and auditoria of opera theatres in more detail, from the first U-shaped auditorium onwards. It is essential to consider the different architectural structures of opera theatres because in order for each designer to initiate their design concept, they would be required to consider the architectural limitations of their chosen auditoria. The architectural structure would be determined by the foyer area, the style and arrangement of seating and the size of the proscenium arch and stage. Chapter three, by means of a comparative analysis, considers the social and cultural influences on the design concepts of Schikaneder, Schinkel and Hockney and how they informed those of Kentridge for The Magic Flute. It also provides a brief overview of stage lighting, scenic styles and stage machinery used in opera from the 16th to the 20th Chapter four classifies the theatrical spaces used in opera theatres by examining three key areas in an opera theatre, in relation to the foyer, auditorium and stage area. This investigation will be conducted with specific reference to the Theatre Auf Der Wieden, The Royal Opera House, the old Glyndebourne Opera House and The Artscape Opera House. In addition to this it will examine the selected designers’ approach to their design concepts by comparatively analysing the stage settings of Schikaneder, Schinkel, Hockney and Kentridge for The Magic Flute and the stage technology that was used to realise their design concepts. Thereafter, the set designs for Kentridge’s production and how they were conceptualised from a South African perspective will be examined. century Chapter five summarises the ways in which scenography is influenced by architectural, cultural and theatrical discourses, from the analysis of the designs and concepts for The Magic Flute.