rafael landea

The Dress Rehearsal Chronicles

The Dress Rehearsal Chronicles is a series of large-sized drawings (14 by 5 feet) on upholstery fabric that explore the backstage world of the opera. The images reveal perspectives from the other side of the audience, where the fictional characters and theater workers “live out” the operas in a manner that reminds us of the age old question: "Does life imitate art, or vice versa?"

Fabric patterns and colors for each piece were chosen based on the ambience of each opera. Each drawing depicts a world where the power of the play captures people on all sides of the stage. When the singers/actors perform, there are people working from above, below, behind, and in front of the stage. The musicians in the orchestra pit have the meticulous task of synchronizing sound and performance. The stage workers transform a castle into a cliff, light the moon or start a storm. These individuals are trapped in the implacable time mechanism of the opera story.  

Each piece hangs freely from a curtain rod with no stretchers or any kind of preparation to keep the drape of the fabric natural. Extra fabric at the bottom of each drawing gathers on the floor and gives the pieces the look of a theater prop.

This book presents four pieces inspired by the operas Tosca, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Billy Budd and The Medium.