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Tosca by OperaUpClose

August 29th, 2013 by Helen

Tosca, by OperaUpClose in association with Soho Theatre

I recently took the photograph of the very talented Becca Marriott for the poster for Tosca by OperaUpClose and Soho Theatre.

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Mittwoch aus Licht

February 28th, 2013 by Helen

A scene from Welt-Parlament (World Parliament) in Mittwoch aus Licht by the Birmingham Opera

In August I was asked by Birmingham Opera to take the production photographs for Mittwoch aus Licht at the Argyle Works in Birmingham.

The singers perform Welt-Parlament (World Parliament), part of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht

Mittwoch aus Licht is German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen’s last piece of work, and it is truly like nothing else I have ever seen performed. Staged in four main parts, one of the acts involves four members of a string quartet going up in four separate helicopters and playing a synchronized polyphonic composition in time to the sounds of the rotor blades. The first part, which was my favourite, was called Welt-Parlament (World Parliament) and requires opera singers to sit atop very high yellow chairs and ‘debate in unknown languages’.

A scene from the Orchester-Finalisten (Orchestra Finalists) part of Mittwoch aus Licht by the Birmingham Opera Company

Jeremy Watt playing the double bass in the Orchester-Finalisten in Mittwoch aus Licht

The second scene is the Orchester-Finalisten (Orchestra Finalists) where eleven instrumentalists are suspended in the air.

Violinist Debs White suspended in the air for the Orchester-Finalisten (Orchestra Finalists) scene in Birmingham Opera's Mittwoch aus Licht

The musician Debs White suspended with her violin.

 

The Argyle Works - Mittwoch aus Licht

This image gives a better idea of the scale of the show. The audience were asked to lay down on padded mats, the orchestra suspended above them and various musicians and actors moved between them.

Luzikamel and the trombonist in the Michaelion section of Mittwoch aus Licht

The fourth section is called Michaelion and has three sub scenes, one of which is Luzikamel, in which a Bactrian camel (or rather two people dressed as one) arrives with a trombonist. I was in Birmingham for two days and the opera lasts almost six hours. There isn’t the space to show you too many of my photos, but here are a few other images, including the two genuine-real-life bactrian camels that came to the opera. Please click on the thumbnails to see larger images.

A real live bactrian camel looks at an audience member at Mittwoch aus Licht Michaelion section of Mittwoch aus Licht The final Mittwochs-Abschied section

The Operator sub section of Michaelion - Mittwoch aus Licht Bactrian camels at the Argyle Works in Birmingham A delegate sings in the Welt-Parlament

A man pours paint over himself

 

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Porgy and Bess

July 15th, 2012 by Helen

Several weeks ago I went to Birmingham to take production photos for Cape Town Opera’s UK tour of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.

Otto Maidi and Nonhlanhla Yende as Porgy and Bess

Otto Maidi and Nonhlanhla Yende performed the lead roles of Porgy and Bess.

Victor Ryan Robertson and the rest of the cast of Porgy and Bess

Victor Ryan Robertson as Sportin’ Life

Actress Sibongile Mngoma peforms as Bess

I photographed two dress rehearsals – singing opera is extremely demanding so most companies tour with several casts. Sibongile Mngoma also performed as Bess.

Opera singer Otto Maidi performs as Porgy

 

Philisa Sibeko performs with other cast members of the Cape Town Opera Sibongile Mngoma as Bess Victor Ryan Robertson and the cast of Cape Town Opera

Please click on the thumbnails to see larger images from the production.

The show has received excellent reviews and I would thoroughly recommend it. It is currently on at the London Coliseum and will be running until Saturday 21st July.

To see more of my production images, please visit the production photography area of my website.

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The Olivier Awards 2012

April 16th, 2012 by Helen

Yesterday I photographed the 2012 Olivier Awards and here are a few of my images from the day.

The Matilda actresses and Bertie Carvel with their Olivier Awards. Copyright Helen Maybanks 2012

I was commissioned by the Olivier Awards to photograph the event, starting on the red carpet through to the award winners with their statues

Matilda composer Tim Minchin on the red carpet at The Olivers at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden

Matilda composer Tim Minchin on the red carpet before the awards ceremony.

Actor Patrick Stewart being interviewed on the red carpet at the Royal Opera House

I was asked to get a variety of coverage, both straight to camera photography and images that capture the atmosphere at the event. The Oliviers were absolutely heaving with people despite the freezing weather – there was a hail storm shortly before the red carpet opened – but that didn’t deter the crowds. I was able to roam the carpet shooting the stars as they were interviewed. Patrick Stewart looks just as dashing in real life as he does on screen.

Celia Imrie on the red carpet at the 2012 Olivier Awards. Copyright Helen Maybanks 2012 Singer Ronan Keating on the red carpet at the Royal Opera House Dan Stevens at the 2012 Olivier Awards Actress Tyne Daly and her brother at the Olivier Awards

Please click on the thumbnails to see larger images of stars on the red carpet including Ronan Keating, Lenny Henry, Tyne Daly and Brian May.

Taylor Bagley and Zach Braff at the 2012 Olivier Awards Vincent Simone, Flavia Cacace and Arlene Phillips being interviewed on the red carpet Actor and comedien Lenny Henry at the 2012 Olivier Awards Anita Dobson and Brian May at the 2012 Olivier Awards

Sir Tim Rice backstage at the Royal Opera House with his Olivier Award

After the red carpet I went backstage where the award presenters and winners came to be photographed.  Lyricist Sir Tim Rice, who must be one of the loveliest people in show-business, with his Olivier award for outstanding contribution to musical theatre.

Olivier award winner Johnny Lee Millar with his statuette Siobhan McCarthy, Elaine Paige and Maria Friedman after their performances at the Olivier Awards Olympic athelete Jonathan Edwards and actress Katherine Kelly at the Olivier Awards

Oliver Awards website featuring the photography of Helen Maybanks

My photos are being used by the Society of London Theatre and the Olivier Awards to promote the event. Please check out the Olivier Awards website to see more images and to read more about the event. Above you can see a screen shot of the website featuring my photos of Anne-Marie Duff and James McAvoy

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Rehearsal photography for ‘Aida’

April 9th, 2012 by Helen

In January I took the rehearsal photographs for  Verdi’s opera Aida which was performed at the Royal Albert Hall. It was one of my more chilly shoots (three cheers for large warehouse studios), but it was great to have the opportunity to photograph the singers in such a dynamic space.

Actress Catrin Aur performing as High Priestess during rehearsal

Soprano Catrin Aur performing as High Priestess.

Tiziana Carraro and Stanislav Shvets receive directions from director Stephen Medcalf

Directorial notes from the show’s director, Stephen Medcalf.

David Kempster performs as Amonasro while trapped in a cage

It’s hard to find a good baritone these days, so David Kempster is kept under lock and key while performing as Amonasro.

Tiziana Carraro and Stanislav Shvets performing as Amneris and Ramfis The dancers practice their choreography during rehearsals. Dancers laughing during a rehearsal of Aida

The show ran from February 23–March 11 and received some great reviews.

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