Arch • Narcissa • Moulins, Allier • 20 July 2017
Oil on linen 3m x 3m
Canvas the town and brush the backdrop.
—Van Dyke Parks
The Paris-based Opéra de Poche commissioned Barry Spann in 2013 to paint backdrops for a series of chamber operas with scores by Evan Fein and libretti by Emily Anderson.
Lightning, Moon and Stars was painted for The Island of the Ugly Sisters (L'Île des sept sœurs), premiering at the Théâtre Adyar in Paris on 18 October 2013. The painting was part of Dark Mountains & Lightning, Moon and Stars, a companion one-man show at Studio Vermès in Paris.
For the world premiere of City of Ashes (Cité des cendres) 18 November 2015, the artist painted nine cityscapes. The paintings were digitized for stage projection and the original oils exhibited at the Théâtre Adyar. The Asia premiere of City of Ashes, an Opéra de Poche coproduction with the Dongcheng Comic Opera Festival, was on 26 October 2016 at the Dongcheng District Cultural Center Fashion Theatre, Dongcheng, Beijing, China.
In 2017, the artist created works for Narcissa. These include a three-meter-square painting entitled Arch, as well as five backdrops. The world premiere took place in Bléré, Val de Loire, 30 September.
A special performance of City of Ashes was filmed at La Nef Glauser, Paris, on 21 June 2018, by Anne Georget for a documentary entitled Une saison à l’opéra de poche.