A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to photograph the Bronx Opera Company‘s beautiful 2017 production of Guiseppe Verdi’s last opera, Falstaff. The company performed the show twice in April at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre in the Bronx. It then moved to the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in Manhattan for two performances in May. I shot the photocall live during the company’s final dress rehearsal, the night before the opera’s premiere.
About the Photocall
I’ve done photocalls for several of the Bronx Opera Company’s productions over the years. Each time, I’ve been able to photograph the final dress rehearsal as a live performance. This gives me a chance to shoot every moment of the show. In many ways, this is better than a traditional photocall, in which the performers pose in a short series of moments chosen in advance by the producers. Shooting a live performance turns the “photocall” into photojournalism, in a sense.
Of course, shooting a show in this way presents both challenges and opportunities. The biggest drawback is that there’s no going back. I have just one chance capture each key moments, because I can’t ask the performers to do something over. On the other hand, shooting a live performance in an almost-empty house lets me move around and capture the action from many different angles. Unfortunately, I can’t step onto the stage in for tight close-ups.
The technical challenges of shooting a live show under stage lighting are significant. Low light and moving actors call for a high ISO, wide aperture, and fast shutter speed. Fortunately, modern digital cameras, a steady hand, and a quick eye make a great photocall possible, as this gallery shows!
About the Production
Verdi completed Falstaff, his last opera, just before he turned 80. He worked with librettist Arrogo Boito for three years on the project, based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. The opera focuses on Sir John Falstaff’s comic attempt to seduce two married women in order to dip into their husbands’ wealth. Falstaff premiered at La Scala in Milan, Italy, in February, 1893.
Bronx Opera’s artistic director, Michael Spierman, served as maestro for the production, and Rod Gomez provided stage direction. Meganne George designed sets and costumes for the production, and G. Benjamin Swope designed the lighting. As always, Bronx Opera performed an English translation of Boitto’s original Italian lyrics.
Interested in a Photocall?
If you have a show in planning, rehearsal or production, and are interested in arranging a photocall, I’d be glad to work with you. I am available to shoot on location in New York City, Long Island, Westchester Country, and northern New Jersey. Contact me by email so we can arrange a phone call or face-to-face meeting.