In his new monograph Opera, American photographer David Leventi (b. 1978) takes us inside the hallowed interiors of more than 40 opera houses located in nineteen countries and built over four centuries on four continents. Shot with a large-format camera over a period of eight years, Leventi’s meticulously composed photographs capture the allure, magic and wealth of architectural detail of the world’s most famous opera houses, including La Scala, Milan; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Palais Garnier, Paris; the Royal Opera House, London; the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow; the Swedish Royal Opera, Stockholm; La Fenice, Venice; the Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, as well as notable smaller venues. Leventi writes, “As the son of two architects, I experience an almost religious feeling walking into a grand space such as an opera house.”
Opera features a foreword by the world-renowned tenor Plácido Domingo, an insightful essay by curator and author Marvin Heiferman, and historical overviews of each theater presented in the book by curator and writer Thomas Mellins.
Most of Leventi’s photographs were taken center stage so we are seeing each space from the perspective of the opera singer. They are made before the performance starts, so the scenery, musicians, performers, and audience members are excluded from the picture. In each sumptuous image we are enveloped by the space in front of us as we take in its unique design—some houses are lavish and ornate, others more simple. What emanates from every image in the book is a pulsating energy and sense of anticipation that something extraordinary is about to happen. Leventi writes, “The actual performance is just a part of the awe-inspiring experience of going to the theater—I believe that the space itself can be the event.”
Photographs by David Leventi
Published by Damiani
Cloth 13.25 X 11 Inches
120 Pgs, Illustrated Throughout
$50.00 U.S.; £30.00
Opera by David Leventi
May 7 – July 10, 2015
Rick Wester Fine Art, Inc.
526 West 26th Street, Suite 417
New York, NY10001