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  Designers: Benoit Dugardyn - Reviews

Eugene Onegin‚ Metz Métropole
Forum Opera (February 2018)

'L’esthétique globale est d’un classicisme élégant... Les grandes portes en bois vitrées du décors unique permettent‚ grâce à un éclairage intelligent et à quelques pièces de mobilier raffinées‚ de construire les sept tableaux du drame‚ qu’ils soient intimes ou publics. ///
The overall aesthetic is elegant and classy...The large wooden doors of the unique décor allow‚ thanks to intelligent lighting and some pieces of refined furniture‚ the construction of seven dramatic tableaux‚ whether intimate or public.'

Eugene Onegin‚ Metz Métropole
Olyrix (February 2018)

'La chorégraphie fait la part belle aux danses traditionnelles et aux danses de bal‚ les pieds frappant le bois clair du décor de Benoît Dugardyn. De grandes portes fenêtres d’un blanc pur s’ouvrent d’abord sur des champs de blé baignés de lumière‚ avant que la nuit étoilée ne veille sur la chambre virginale de Tatiana‚ lit en ferronnerie blanche et coiffeuse à l’appui. Le duel se déroule dans une forêt de bouleaux blancs‚ arbres russes par excellence. Le palais pétersbourgeois du prince Grémine‚ dont la perspective s’allonge par l’ajout de hautes portes intermédiaires‚ s’élève sur les quais de la Neva‚ en vis-à-vis des façades fidèlement reconstituées des autres palais qui longent le fleuve tout au long de son parcours dans la ville. /// The choreography gives pride of place to traditional dances and ball dances‚ feet hitting the light wood of Benoît Dugardyn’s decor. Large‚ pure white doors open at first to fields of wheat bathed in light‚ before the starry night watches over the virginal room of Tatiana‚ bed in white ironwork and dressing table in support. The duel takes place in a forest of white birches‚ Russian trees par excellence. Prince Gremine’s Prince’s Palace‚ whose perspective extends with the addition of high intermediate gates‚ rises on the banks of the Neva River opposite the faithfully reconstructed façades of the other palaces along the river. throughout his journey in the city.'

Eugene Onegin‚ Metz Métropole
Res Musica (February 2018)

'Personne ne saurait contester le bon goût et la délicatesse de ce joli spectacle‚ situé dans un élégant décor rehaussé de toiles peintes qui représentent tour à tour les champs et les jardins du domaine campagnard de Madame Larine‚ puis au troisième acte‚ les rues et les canaux de Saint-Pétersbourg. /// No one can dispute the good taste and delicacy of this beautiful show‚ set in an elegant decor enhanced with painted canvases that represent in turn the fields and gardens of the country estate of Madame Larine‚ then in the third act‚ the streets and St. Petersburg canals.'

Der Freischutz‚ Virginia Opera
Opera News (February 2017)

'Lawless animated the action unfolding on an unfussy‚ nicely atmospheric set by Benoit Dugardyn that received crucial touches from Patricia Collins lighting. The Wolf’s Glen scene looked suitably eerie‚ capped with a visit by a cousin to Irving’s headless horseman.'

Werther‚ Metz Métropole
ConcertoNet (January 2017)

'Dans une galerie‚ Werther admire avec obsession un tableau qui représente le foyer du Bailli. Ce dernier s’anime‚ Charlotte s’échappe du cadre‚ l’imagination se confond à la réalité‚ surtout lorsqu’Albert et des hommes en chapeau melon apparaissent en portant un parapluie‚ référence poétique à une toile de Magritte. Le spectacle aurait pu montrer plus clairement que les personnages n’existent que dans l’imagination du Werther‚ mais il s’agit d’un mince reproche‚ tant l’aspect nous séduit. A défaut de bouleverser‚ cette mise en scène vise juste : le point fort de ce spectacle intelligent et fidèle à ce chef-d’œuvre. /// In a gallery‚ Werther admires with obsession a picture which represents the home of the Bailli. The latter comes alive‚ Charlotte escapes from the frame‚ imagination is confused with reality‚ especially when Albert and men in bowler hat appear with an umbrella‚ a poetic reference to a canvas by Magritte. The show could have shown more clearly that the characters exist only in the imagination of the Werther‚ but it is a small reproach‚ so much the aspect seduces us. In the absence of upsetting‚ this staging aims just: the strong point of this spectacle intelligent and faithful to this masterpiece.'

Carmen‚ Santa Fe Opera
Opera (November 2014)

'...a cohesive yet singular production‚ set interestingly in today’s tense border region between the US and Mexico...hardly a traditional gypsy-cum-flamenco outing. The opening soldiers’ chorus took place in the barracks locker room...Lillas Pastia’s tavern was a sleazy nightclub‚ complete with mechanical bull...The smugglers’ hideout was a poorly-patrolled section of the border‚ domintated by a high chain-link fence'

Carmen‚ Santa Fe Opera
New York Times (July 2014)

'The designer Benoit Dugardyn created a versatile set consisting in great part of a bi-level half circle that evokes a bullfighting arena long before the toreador Escamillo makes his entrance...In the production’s most arresting touch‚ the set’s wooden surfaces also become screens for video projections'

Carmen‚ Santa Fe Opera
Sante Fe New Mexican (June 2014)

'Benoit Dugardyn’s sets cleverly use bi-level arrangements — such as a plaza area and a rampart above — that provide useful opportunities for the director to spread out the movement'

Roberto Devereux‚ Canadian Opera Company (May 2014)

'This handsome production from Dallas Opera is mounted as if one chapter in a series of historical tableaus - which is precisely what it is‚ as the same set was used earlier in Toronto for Maria Stuarda‚ and‚ in Dallas‚ also for Anna Bolena...The opening night audience simply did not want to stop applauding - there hasn’t been an ovation like that in years'

Roberto Devereux‚ Canadian Opera Company
Bach (April 2014)

'Benoit Dugardyn’s creative set design enhances this journey‚ moving between epic and intimate scales‚ and simple if effective color schemes. In one scene‚ a rich‚ royal-red velvet carpet covers the wooden planks of the Globe’s “stage”; Elisabetta’s dress blends in as she crumples in emotional exhaustion‚ merging with her both her history (royal and bloody) and her passion (fiery and sensuous). By contrast‚ Sara’s quarters are a faded royal blue‚ as if position has only the most cursory of roles within the household‚ but an omniscient one that extends into the bedroom‚ where canopy‚ curtains‚ even bedspread‚ are the same shade. Such a smart design...'

Roberto Devereux‚ Canadian Opera Company
The Globe & Mail (April 2014)

'“...a clever production of the opera which sets it on the stage of the Globe Theatre and surrounds it with emblems and visual cues of Elizabethan England. The terraces surrounding the stage are used to great advantage by the COC chorus‚ watching the action as well as participating in it'

Roberto Devereux‚ Canadian Opera Company
The Toronto Star (April 2014)

'Benoit Dugardyn’s set is unashamedly borrowed from the Globe Theatre and was used for the entire “Tudor Queen” trilogy when this production premiered in Dallas. It’s a striking framework that allows Lawless to position his singers in a series of dramatically viable yet visually pleasing ways‚ while providing a whole series of galleries for the estimable COC Chorus to lurk in ways that are properly Elizabethan'

Salome‚ Portland Opera
Seen & Heard (November 2013)

'Taken out of historical context‚ but not too disturbingly transferred into any other specific period‚ Belgian designer Benoit Dugardyn’s sets and the costumes by the German Ingeborg Bernerth were good to look at and dramatically apt...Altogether‚ then‚ this was not merely the best production of Salome I have ever witnessed. It ranks high among the productions I’ve seen of any opera'

La Princesse de Trébizonde‚ Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Etienne
Classique (May 2013)

'Superbe idée que cet immense carrousel évoquant à la fois la ronde‚ le tourbillon‚ la foire‚ la prison dorée de notre troupe de saltimbanques /// Great idea that this huge carousel evoking both the round‚ the whirlwind‚ the fair‚ the gilded prison of our troupe of acrobats'

La Princesse de Trébizonde‚ Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Etienne
Concert (May 2013)

'... avec le précieux concours de Benoît Dugardyn (scénographie) La transformation du carrousel du I en une immense cage-prison dorée au II // with the invaluable assistance of Benedict Dugardyn (scenography) The transformation of the carousel I into a huge golden cage II to jail'

Anna Bolena‚ Washington National Opera
Mundo (November 2012)

'Es justo mencionar la claridad de ideas y la funcionalidad de la escenografía que firmó Benoit Dugardyn‚ así como el rico vestuario diseñado por Ingeborg Bernerth‚ elementos que contribuyeron en gran medida al éxito final de la presentación /// It is fair to mention the clarity of ideas and functionality of the scenery which Benoit Dugardyn signed and the rich costumes designed by Ingeborg Bernerth‚ elements that contributed greatly to the ultimate success of the presentation'

Anna Bolena‚ Washington National Opera
Baltimore Sun (September 2012)

'The action flows swiftly on Benoit Dugardyn’s set‚ which gets more interesting as the opera progresses. Imposing wooden walls move about quickly to create fresh scenes‚ at one point‚ closing in on Seymour as she realizes just how trapped she is by her love for the king‚ her friendship with the queen. Balconies that frame the stage provide perches for the chorus of courtiers to look down on the messy lives and loves of the royals'

Anna Bolena‚ Washington National Opera (September 2012)

'The Washington National Opera opens its season with Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. The production‚ created by the Dallas Opera‚ is a fanciful conceit. Designer Dugardyn sets the opera in the Globe Theater‚ the principal actors all on stage level‚ supporting characters and chorus often gathered on the balconies‚ both a part of the action and observers‚ often the court’s relation to royals. The horseshoe shape of the Globe is echoed by the 2300 seat‚ warmly welcoming opera house‚ and completes an oval‚ which intimately includes the audience in the royal proceedings. The proscenium wall has effectively been breached. In preparation for the hunting scene‚ a shield drops from the ceiling. It is covered with deer figures and looks like a reredos‚ echoing the big church story‚ which drives the personal drama. The shield is a harbinger of death. Visual touches throughout keep your eyes as well as your ears at full attention... a very special opera‚ a triumph in Washington'

Anna Bolena‚ Washington National Opera
Washington Examiner (September 2012)

'Benoit Dugardyn’s set echoes Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Nine high‚ vertical panels are arranged downstage‚ before a rounded‚ wooden‚ double-balcony structure. When Enrico goes hunting‚ Richmond Park is suggested by a huge‚ hanging coat-of-arms comprised of bleached deer antlers. Two Irish Wolfhounds‚ Garryowen and Gael‚ complete the scene...a particularly rich‚ satisfying theatrical experience'

Anna Bolena‚ Washington National Opera
Washington Post (September 2012)

'The paneled walls of Benoit Dugardyn’s sets‚ delineating rooms in the castle‚ were but an illusory shelter‚ affording no real protection from the court’s all-seeing eye'

Iolanta / Fancesca di Rimini Theater an der Wien
Opera (May 2012)

'Benoît Dugardyn’s white Yolanta decor was reminiscent of Dante Garbriel Rossetti - an idyllic cocoon in a sphere which later revealed itself as a sort of space shuttle‚ anchored in time and place by Cyrillic letters and visions of Red Army soldiers. The setting of Francesca da Rimini was a gulag‚ ruled by the adulteress’s crippled‚ jealous‚ murderous husband'

Iolanta‚ Theater an der Wien (January 2012)

'Beide Protagonistinnen empfinden ihr Leben als Kerker‚ was durch das imposante Bühnenbild von Benoît Dugardyn eindrucksvoll untermauert wurde /// Both protagonists perceive their lives as a dungeon‚ which was impressively confirmed by the impressive scenery of Benoit Dugardyn'

Faust‚ Santa Fe Opera
Classical (August 2011)

'Director Stephen Lawless and scenic designer Benoit Dugardyn have updated the action from 16th-century Germany to La belle époque‚ with drop-dead gorgeous period costuming by Sue Wilmington. The city square in Act 1 is a dingy circus fair with the usual oddities (Siamese twins‚ bearded and fat ladies‚ and a midget) in large glass booths. Dugardyn’s eye-popping tableau must have taken up most of the production budget with the subsequent scenes reverting to a darkly lit Minimalism. The revamped booths return‚ deftly‚ as a church confessional through which Mephistopheles tricks Marguerite‚ and as Amsterdam-style show booths for the Walpurgisnacht Scene‚ with history’s most sensuous women each taking a turn lap-dancing for Faust'

Faust‚ Santa Fe Opera
St Louis (August 2011)

'The book-filled sets by Benoit Dugardyn were at their best in the second scene‚ set at a village fair; his Ferris wheel was quite wonderful‚ and there was plenty to catch the eye'

Faust‚ Santa Fe Opera
Santa Fe New (July 2011)

'The Santa Fe Opera launched into its 55th season Friday night with its first-ever production of Charles Gounod’s Faust‚ and it proved so colorful‚ fun and upbeat that it left the audience no choice but to smile. The production boasts extravagant‚ detailed sets by Benoit Dugardyn'

Anna Bolena‚ Dallas Opera
Musicweb International (November 2010)

'Adding to the poise of the production‚ Benoit Dugardyn’s theater-in-the-round‚ Globe Theatre-type of set worked wonders creating excitement...'

Anna Bolena‚ Dallas Opera
Pegasus (November 2010)

'The scenic design by Benoit Dugardyn is‚ in essence‚ a repeat of the other two Tudor Donizetti operas previously mounted by the Dallas Opera. It is a sky high semi-circle with three levels of balconies looking down on the stage. The effect created is that of people trapped. Add to this are large hinged screens that serve as movable walls. By moving the walls‚ different rooms and areas are created. It is oppressive and claustrophobic. The walls literally close in on the characters as their lives are destroyed. It is very effective'

Maria Stuarda‚ Canadian Opera Company (May 2010)

'The COC’s production of Maria Stuarda‚ borrowed from Dallas Opera‚ is both visually and musically a class act. The distinguished-looking set consists of a performing platform backed by a semi-circular‚ three-tiered gallery (much like that in an Elizabethan theatre‚ such as Shakespeare’s Globe). The opera was performed in Texas in 2007‚ and the set will eventually be used there for all three of Donizetti’s “Tudor Trilogy”...This opera doesn’t appear all that frequently. We are fortunate that it has received such a worthy - even distinguished - production'

Maria Stuarda‚ Canadian Opera Company
Toronto National Post (May 2010)

'The set designed for the Dallas Opera by Benoit Dugardyn is a semicircular array of galleries from which the chorus members sometimes view the drama as emblems of the English populace. It is the one concession to abstraction‚ and it works well. There is an impressive solar image at the start‚ hanging above Elizabeth‚ but otherwise heraldic properties are kept to a minimum. As are many other complications. A 19th-century Italian retelling of a 16th-century English story might sound like a formula or brain cramps. It turns out to be an ennobling exercise in pure and simple opera'

Maria Stuarda‚ Canadian Opera Company
Toronto Star (May 2010)

'The Canadian Opera Company’s new production of Gaetano Donizetti’s 1834 opera Maria Stuarda is sensational – one of those lucky events where singing‚ orchestra‚ direction and design work together toward a moving‚ uplifting experience…Self-conscious theatricality runs throughout this production‚ originated by Dallas Opera. Benoit Dugardyn’s set is an Elizabethan theatre‚ as seen from backstage. The action is largely set on a raised‚ raked platform in the centre‚ while the chorus -- everyone in designer Ingeborg Bemerth’s period dress -- observes and comments from the galleries as the drama unfolds'

Orfeo ed Euridice‚ Theater an der Wien
Opera (October 2008)

'An inspirational Orfeo ed Euridice...Yet an additional feather in the cap of Vienna’s "new opera house" which has already established itself as indispensable in the capital’s music life. It’s hard to imagine a finer setting than this wonderful house for Gluck’s masterpiece (Vienna version)‚ performed in Italian in this new production by Stephen Lawless and Rene Jacobs. Benoît Dugardyn chose to set the piece in Vienna’s Musikverein‚ with trap doors efficiently providing access to the underworld and the necessary sets and props for scene changes as required...the entire concept compact and pleasing...Tumultuous applause left no doubt as to the evening’s success.'

Tosca - Oscarsborg Oper‚ Oscarsborg Fortress‚ Norway
NRK Review (August 2008)

'Den belgiske scenografen Benoit Dugardyn lar kulissene vokse ut av de mektige murveggene.
Borgens egne dører og vinduer brukes virkningsfullt. I forhold til Carmen-oppsetningen i fjor er det nå en ny bruk av festningsmiljøet som gir en mektig opplevelse.

The Belgian set-designer Benoit Dugardyn lets the set grow out of the mighty brick walls. The Fortress’ own doors and windows are used very effectively. Compared to last year’s Carmen production‚ this new use of the fortress surroundings leaves us with a powerful experience.'