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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Artists set for Opera House stage
The Knot Garden opens at the Royal Opera House on 30 April

The Royal Opera House has commissioned Turner Prize-nominated artists Jane and Louise Wilson to design a stage set.

The sisters - who are known for their video installations - have created the set for the opera The Knot Garden.

They were asked by the Royal Opera House to create an imaginary 3D world within which the opera will take place.

The Knot Garden, part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of its composer Sir Michael Tippett, will be staged from 30 April.

The Covent Garden venue hosted the premiere of The Knot Garden in 1970, when it opened on the Royal Opera House's main stage.

It has been a true collaboration between two artforms
Michael McCarthy
Music Theatre Wales
The new version will be staged by ROH2 - in one of the opera house's smaller auditoriums - in a co-production with Music Theatre Wales.

Music Theatre Wales' artistic director Michael McCarthy said: "In the libretto he [Sir Michael] talks about the location of the opera being in a knot garden for the first act and in a labyrinth for the second act.

"He also referred to cinematic techniques, such a cuts, and used the term 'dissolve' to describe scene changes.

"We decided to take the lead from the libretto about the cinema idea and look at ways of doing a stage design that expressed the inner workings of the drama."

Bold step

Mr McCarthy said he researched artists and settled on the Wilson sisters, who create installations the viewer can enter and walk around in.

"It has been a true collaboration between two artforms," Mr McCarthy added.

The Knot Garden - which will tour England and Wales in May and July - explores the emotional and psychological world of its seven characters as they deal with their doubts and desires.

The involvement of the Wilson sisters is seen as a bold step in a new initiative between the ROH2 and visual artists.

Each commission will combine the talents of composers, singers, choreographers, dancers and musicians with some of today's most innovative artists.


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