La Purpura de la Rosa - Set Design
La Púrpura de la Rosa / The Blood of the Rose - Friday Jan. 27 & 29 - Baroque Chamber Orchestra
This project was fun yet challenging in materials, timeline, and weather conditions. I had about a week and a half from start to finish to plan, construct, paint, and deliver these pieces. As always I chose to work with as many recycled materials as possible. Cardboard has been one of my favorite materials in the past year due to its thickness, durability, and texture. I started my first tree with smaller pieces and did a lot of paper mache techniques but I realized immediately that the process was too slow to meet the deadline. I switched to larger pieces and hot glue and reinforced any pieces that were in the folds of a box, or simply a thinner cardboard.
I designed this in a baroque style so I wanted an ornate-looking tree so the curved lines and swirls I thought would fit perfectly for the whimsy nature of this story. I painted the backgrounds in various shades of green with bits of the same gold I used for the trees. This particular gold spray paint is one of my favorite golds on the market. It’s bright and reflects naturally and I think looks the truest color most people think of when you say “gold”.
While researching concepts for the set pieces I saw a youtube video of a production where set pieces appeared to be on rolling racks of some sort. I immediately knew that rolling garment racks would be the way to go with the lightweight use of materials and time constraints. I chose the RIGGA rolling garment racks from IKEA because it is an affordable option and they are some of the tallest on the market.
Rust-Oleum Specialty Gold Metallic Spray Paint
RIGGA white clothes rack - IKEA
Different types of cardboard respond differently when glued. Pieces with a slick coating must be scored or removed to allow the glue to adhere properly. Cardboard that is thinner can bend easily and needs to be reinforced.
Paint that is too watery will soak into the cardboard, change the look, and weaken the piece. I usually work with spray paint since it coats the top layer without soaking into the cardboard. The challenging part of working in winter is spray painting outside. This Winter in Colorado has been unusually cold and spray paint does not respond as well in temperatures below 50 degrees.
Painting over powder-coated metal is always a challenge and can scrape off easily. You must sand the surface to get the best chance of the paint adhering. With the cold temperature, it can still scrape off very easily. If you are looking for a long-term solution for repainting make sure you sand it as much as possible, prime it first, then paint.
I highly recommend these materials and techniques whether you are on a tight budget or not. The racks are sturdy and cardboard is easy to find and free almost everywhere. With more time there is so much more detail you can add to really make a large piece pop. You can also make cardboard more sturdy with additional layers or even reinforce it with wood.
A little about this production directly copied from the Baroque Chamber Orchestra Website: (https://www.bcocolorado.org/ )
“La Púrpura de la Rosa (The Blood of the Rose) recounts the famous, fated, forbidden love affair between Venus, the Goddess of Love, and the very mortal and handsome Adonis. The Spanish libretto is by the great Golden Age dramatist, Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Filled with suspense, seduction, and comedy this opera’s music composed by Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco is rich in harmonies, plaintive melodies and Latin American dance rhythms. Featuring Nell Snaidas, guest director; Grammy nominated Jennifer Ellis Kampani, Soprano; Guadalupe Peraza, mezzo-soprano, and more amazing voices.”