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 Whitechapel Gallery, Royal Opera House, Art Plus Opera, Swarovski, Howard Hodgkin, Michael Craig Martin
Whitechapel Gallery Enlists Howard Hodgkin For Opera - ArtLyst Article image

Whitechapel Gallery Enlists Howard Hodgkin For Opera

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Opera posters by leading artists including Sir Howard Hodgkin and Michael Craig Martin unveiled in support of Swarovski Whitechapel Gallery Art Plus Opera

The Whitechapel Gallery has commissioned leading artists Philip Allen, Michael Craig Martin, Sir Howard Hodgkin, Robert Holyhead, Janice Kerbel and Lisa Millroy to produce opera posters for Swarovski Whitechapel Gallery Art Plus Opera, the Gallery’s annual fundraising event on 15 March 2012.

Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick OBE, Nadja Swarovski, Member of Swarovski’s Executive Board and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, Art Plus Chair, invite guests to buy tickets for an evening of enchanting opera performances and contemporary art in support of the Whitechapel Gallery’s Education programme.

The great British artist Sir Howard Hodgkin, who famously designed costumes and backcloths for opera productions throughout his career, has created a poster featuring vivid sweeping strokes of colour.  Michael Craig Martin’s design features his signature typography, intertwining letters and symbols, while Philip Allen has made a dazzling work of psychedelic forms and text. Other designs include Lisa Millroy’s dramatic puppet-master scene and Robert Holyhead’s geometric abstract work. The art will be auctioned on the evening alongside a delicate 'Blossom' chandelier designed by Tord Boontje for the Swarovski Crystal Palace Collection, donated by Swarovski.

Swarovski Whitechapel Gallery Art Plus Opera features a first-time collaboration between the Whitechapel Gallery and The Royal Opera House, with performances by the Royal Opera Chorus directed by the leading opera-director Alessandro Talevi. The performances include scenes about art, including Puccini’s La bohème with the artist Marcello in his Paris garret in the 1890s, and The Auction Scene from The Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky, inspired by the artist William Hogarth’s 18th century masterpiece. Other performances include the Vissi d’arte and Recondita Armonia scenes from Tosca by Pucciniand Brindisi, Act I from La traviata by Verdi.

Works donated for auction by Darren Almond, Vija Celmins, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Martin Creed, Cristina Iglesias,Alan Kane, Gabriel Kuri, Simon Starling and Franz West are currently on display in the Gallery, including Gabriel Orozco’sSix crabs on Simon’s Drawing 2010 and Static Portraits (Lynnette, Ambreen, Cecilia) 2000, a series of rare polaroids byMona Hatoum.

The Gallery will be transformed into a sparkling Art Deco 1920s ballroom setting with production design by Event Conceptfeaturing pieces from Swarovski's Crystal Palace collection including Light Socks by Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, a majestic Swarovski crystal beaded curtain, and grand chandeliers used in the film Black Swan (2010). Guests will dine on a deliciousparty menu by Angela Hartnett with Smart Hospitality and a Wright Brothers oyster bar then sip on Courvoisier Cha Cha Cha cocktails, 69 Colebrooke Row extra dry martinis, prosecco by Laytons, Firefly Tonics and Peroni beers. Celebrity DJsDan Lywood and Mourad Mazouz with MOMO Club DJs, along with Penny Fathers DJs will transport guests from the 1920s to today with dancing into the early hours.

Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery said: ‘In the tradition of posters designed by Picasso, Cocteau and others to accompany Diaghilev’s ballet and opera productions a century ago, we are thrilled that some of today’s leading artists, from the iconic Sir Howard Hodgkin to rising star Robert Holyhead have created opera posters for the Whitechapel Gallery.  The Royal Opera Chorus promise to fill the Gallery with soaring arias about art, and our heartfelt thanks go to them and our artistic collaborators Swarovski for helping us realise what promises to be a magical evening of art, opera and sparkling performance.’

Alessandro Talevi, opera-director of Swarovski Whitechapel Gallery Art Plus Opera said: ‘Opera is a synthesis of all the main art forms, so it’s a perfect marriage with contemporary art . Contemporary artists have been shaking up the opera world, so with the Royal Opera House chorus I hope we can generate some excitement and a few surprises’.

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