Opera, a solo show of the American photographer David Leventi. Ten large-format photographs depicting nine famous opera houses are on display.
Visionnaire (Piazza Cavour 3, Milano) in collaboration with Spazio Damiani, present Opera, a solo show of the American photographer David Leventi. Ten large-format photographs depicting nine famous opera houses will be on display: La Fenice in Venice, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, the Palais Garnier in Paris, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Kungliga Operan of Stockholm, the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and, as an indispensable tribute to the city of Milano, its Teatro alla Scala.
The realization of the series from which the ten works in the exhibition are drawn has taken David Leventi five years: the entire project offers a journey through more than forty magnificent opera houses scattered over four continents. Each theatre has been chosen for a particular feature that makes it unique: the Metropolitan for its unequalled size, the San Carlo for its record of longevity, the Palais Garnier for its frescoed ceiling by the visionary Marc Chagall, and its use as the setting for the famous Phantom of the Opera, La Scala for having hosted Verdi, Rossini and Bellini, and the Mariinsky for having seen the presence of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Rimsky Korsakov.
David Leventi’s survey not only highlights the magnificence of the decorations and the solemnity of the architecture, but also explores the historical function of these places. The theme of great man-made spaces with a specific social function is a key aspect in the work of this photographer. Opera houses have played a leading role in the affirmation of national identity: they have simultaneously been a place in which the community might gather, a place of consecration of power, but also a place of protest.
However, we can also read these photographs from another (emotional) angle, that of the actors who tread the stages of these opera houses. All the images have been taken from the stage: from this perspective the eye travels over the stalls, the balconies on the sides and the gods, reversing the traditional relationship between the audience and the fourth wall. Thanks to this device, in Leventi’s photographs it is possible to sense the tension, the thrill and expectation felt by the performers before going on stage, when everything is just about to happen.
The complete series of 40 theatres is presented in a volume entitled Opera, published by Damiani, and including an insightful foreword by Placido Domingo.
In 2007, David Leventi was designated by Photo District News as one of their Top 30 Emerging Photographers. His photographs have been widely published in TIME, The New York Times Magazine, ESPN The Magazine, FT Weekend Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Communication Arts Photography Annual and American Photography, among others. He is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art in New York, Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, Bau-Xi Photo in Toronto, Jackson Fine Art in Atlanta and Galería Patricia Acal in Madrid. David Leventi (b. 1978) was born in New York and received his BFA in Photography from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.