Es Devlin


The Anglo-Saxon artist often underlines the manual and artisanal nature of his sets and his practice of using pencil, paper, scissors and glue: a truly unusual method if you think of the hyper-technological fittings that bear his signature.Whether you work for the big rock stages or an opera production for Wagner – suggests Devlin, «we are always trying to create ...»
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«... the most articulated sculpture there is, the most poetic tool for communicating with the public».Among the most important installations, even iconic for the history of show design, there are those for the concerts of Take That (in this image), Beyoncé, Myles Cyrus, Kanye West, for U2 and ...
... for Adele, for which he created real works of visual art with stages full of screens and large-scale video projections.Much like a sculpture many of Devlin's theatrical and lyrical stagings are conceived ...
... starting from Parsifal for the Royal Danish Opera (Copenhagen 2012) directed by Keith Warner.The spectacular nature of the monumental stage apparatus is such that it appears as a tower-pawn on a chessboard ...
... which rotates so that the audience can see it from every angle:«I call my work ''scenic sculpture'' but, of course, what is really sculpted is the experience of the audience and, as directors and designers, we have to take responsibility for every minute the public spends with us.We are a bit like pilots navigating a flight route for a hundred thousand passengers.»
Les Troyens directed by David McVicar for Covent Garden in London in 2012 and landed to the Teatro alla Scala.The extraordinary scenographic invention now closely linked to the imagination of Les Troyens is that of the «horse bust higher than the walls of Carthage itself, created through an assembly of the most diverse metallic materials ...»
«... cannons, wheels, fragments of other more or less recognizable structures, which can be compared to ancient and Renaissance bronzes but also, and above all, to the sculptures of Arman or Tinguely and even to the Millenium Falcon, the spaceman of Captain Han Solo of the modern epic series of Star Wars.»M. Della Valle in A. Monteverdi, Scenografe, 2021Devlin departed from the theatre, in London …
... in small theaters like the Almeida or like the Bush Theatre (78 places).Important early works include Betrayal by Harold Pinter in 1998 at the Lyttelton Theater (in this image) directed by Trevor Nunn.Or, further on, it must be remembered ...
Es Devlin (Kingston upon Thames, London, 1971) is the most important name among contemporary theater designers who use new digital media: she has designed the most important pop music concerts and has set up interactive installation spaces for international museums and successful brands, as well as sets for international opera houses.

Anna Maria Monteverdi is the author of this monograph, and she is Associate Professor of History of Theater and Professor of History of Scenography at the Università degli Studi di Milano.
Among her most recent texts:
Scenografe - Storia della scenografia femminile dal Novecento a oggi, Dino Audino, 2021
Leggere uno spettacolo multimediale, Dino Audino, 2020
Memoria maschera e macchina nel teatro di Robert Lepage, Meltemi, 2018
Le Arti multimediali digitali, (con A. Balzola), Garzanti, 2005

Materials used in this production

Teatro alla Scala, ''Boris Godunov''

Lyric opera

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