I enjoy photographing musicians and performers, and once a year for the past four years I’ve had the opportunity to photograph an opera, and it’s fascinating to watch the artifice being build with costumes and make-up, and really outstanding voices—from students.
The Duquesne University Opera Workshop performs a full-stage opera every April in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library Music Hall, and each year so far it’s been a Mozart opera. This year they performed Die Zauberflote or The Magic Flute.
The cast always includes members from the previous year and they don’t seem to mind now when I barge into the dressing room and photograph them in the metamorphosis from everyday modern young students into experienced sopranos and basses and tenors in full professional costume—if I wasn’t watching I don’t know that I’d recognize some of them when they came out on stage. I photograph them making faces at themselves in the mirror, buttoning up a complicated costume, or one guy putting make-up on another guy.
But the real excitement is photographing them practicing their art, and that’s what I think I like best about photographing musicians and performers who are just as involved in what they do as I am in that moment.
I know the hall really well and can tiptoe around in the dark to get all the angles I think will be best for each individual, group and each scene.
You can see more photos performances in the photo gallery on the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall’s website under Photo Album on this facility’s website—I maintain this gallery and all the photos are those I’ve taken at events and just on daily visits. This is “my” library which I’ve been visiting since I was a child, and while they are one of my customers for commercial art I also visit for the sake of books and attend performances in the music hall.