Backstage at San Francisco Opera > May 2012 > The Magic Serpent
The Magic Serpent
It may only appear in one short scene at the beginning of the opera, but unquestionably one of the stars of every production of The Magic Flute is the serpent that pursues Prince Tamino and is ultimately killed by the Three Ladies. Because our new hi-tech Magic Flute production is so heavily based on projections and digital images (8 projectors!), you might assume that the serpent chasing poor Tamino would simply be an image projected on the wall--but designer Jun Kaneko had a different idea! [Left: Jun Kaneko's design drawing of Tamino facing the two-headed snake] Jun Kaneko's designs for the first scene featured a large, ominous two-headed serpent which will be maneuvered by 8 black-clad kuroko "puppeteers" in the traditional Japanese kabuki style. The designs for the snake, which has to be structured, but also extremely flexible and agile, were so complex that they required use of a brand new stat of the art software—Autodesk Inventor 3D. We have been following the construction of the great serpent in our scene shop over the last several months. Enjoy these photos showing the snake in various stages of construction. Want to see the final product in action? Pictures just won't do it justice—you'll have to come to the show!

Posted: 5/22/2012 3:04:28 PM by San Francisco Opera
Filed under: 2011-12Season, design, JunKaneko, mozart, production, themagicflute


Backstage at San Francisco Opera is a fascinating, fast-moving, mysterious and sacred space for the Company’s singers, musicians, dancers, technicians and production crews. Musical and staging rehearsals are on-going, scenery is loaded in and taken out, lighting cues are set, costumes and wigs are moved around and everything is made ready to receive the audience. From the principal singers, chorus and orchestra musicians to the creative teams for each opera, in addition to the many talented folks who don’t take a bow on stage, this blog offers unique insight, both thought-provoking and light-hearted, into the life backstage at San Francisco Opera.


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