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La bohème

Designer Stephen Brimson Lewis shares his inspiration for La bohème.

La bohème

  • 18 Pins

William S. Osborn, 1901.

Miss Vesta Tilley.

Sarah Bernhardt by Félix Nadar.

Photo (1900).

Dana and the Apple, Edward Stichen (1922). An image that seemed to sum up 'Mimi' as both muse and lover - a bridge between painting and photography - a startling contemporary young woman and yet captured 90 years ago. Its these connections that I search for when first staring out to design a new production.

Augustus John. Photograph.

Newsies at Skeeter Branch, St. Louis, Missouri. Photograph by Lewis Hine.

La bohème.

Photograph by Perry Ogden. Francis Bacon's Studio - exquisitely squalid. I needed an image of a real painters studio, not cliched operatic imaginings - but a room where paint reigns. Every surface covered with the history of a thousand marks of testing, working out, frustration, elation. A single window but this one without a view other than perhaps a small piece of sky.

Francis Bacon Studio. Photograph by Perry Ogden.

Le Moulin Rouge, Paris, Photograph: (1899). This became a spring board for Act two - I would have loved to include the Elephant but Baz Luhrmann got there before me.

Paris Rooftops, Photograph.

Paris Rooftops, Photograph: (1987).

Hot Chestnut Seller. Photo: (1910).

Interior of miner's tenement Photograph: E. Smith (1954). A similar space to Bacons studio but this time a home - again a real place.

Berwick Street Market, Photograph: (1929).

Berwick Street Market, Photograph: (1933). A city space and a city I have known all my life - Its often surprising how much a designer draws on his sub conscious memories - its often more reliable than the conscious, cluttered mind- even though its Paris I am trying to conjure in the audience's minds its inevitable that theres some bleed through from all those tiny details of ones own sense of place.

Julia Jackson, Photo by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1867.