World Stage Design

Society of British Theatre Designers, 2013

Credits | Reviews  ⇓


Edited by Kate Burnett

Softcover Catalogue

Portrait, 21×29.7 cm

Number of Pages: 223


ISBN: 978–0–9529309–7–6



Purchase a copy of the catalogue


Jean-Marc Puissant

Set Design / Costume Design



Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Georges Bizet

The Crosby Theatre, Santa Fe

Santa Fe Opera

June 2012


Jean-Marc Puissant: The set design embraces the notion of quoting an Orientalist plot within an 1860’s French opera presented in a contemporary open-air opera house. Theatre architecture and scaffoldings hold two walls of an 1860’s building being restored. A mid-stage gilded frame echoes giant Empire paintings and proscenium arches of the period of composition. Upstage, the pictorial depiction of an ancient temple enables the plot to exist and the story to unfold.



Set designer: Jean-Marc Puissant

Costume designer: Brigitte Reiffenstuel

Lighting designer: Rick Fisher

Director: Director: Lee Blakeley

Photographer: Ken Howard


Image 1

Art 1: Market scene

Throughout the performance, the staging juxtaposes the different worlds. In this scene, downstage, Nadir and Zurga remember the times when, in their youth, they first saw and fell in love with Leila. Upstage, within the ‘quote’ of the frame, we see their younger selves living this intense moment, bathed in the nostalgia of memory, standing against the natural Santa Fe sunset.


Image 2

Act 2: ‘Au fond du temple saint…’

As the characters’ drama unfolds, the space undergoes the ravages of a natural disaster. The frame collapses, the 1860’s walls are stripped to expose red brick, the upstage temple is mostly destroyed and becomes piles of rubble accumulated downstage. Now set against the real black night sky, the image resembles the shore of a bleak seascape. Here, eager to soothe the anger of their gods, the villagers build a pyre and demand that Zurga should die.


Image 3

Act 3: ‘Dés que le soleil..’




Christopher Wheeldon

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London

The Royal Ballet Company

February 2013


Jean-Marc Puissant: This abstract, contemporary ballet follows the dramatic line of Britten’ score. Although it remains plotless, we witness the journey of a female character within a group of more abstract performers.



Set and Costume designer: Jean-Marc Puissant

Lighting designer;, Adam Silverman

Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon

Music: Benjamin Britten, Sinforia da Requiem


Image 1

The dramatic First Movement is set under an organic three-dimensional structure, architecturally lit, starting as a low composition close to stage level within a full black space, slowly rising until suddenly bursting into a monumental composition filing the stage.

Photographer: Tristram Kenton


Image 2

In the disturbing atmosphere of the Second Movement, the structure looks like a fragmented, three-dimensional wooden take on a Turner sky. Strong back lighting uses the hanging structure’s composition to cast shadows breaking down the expanse of pale grey dance floor. The off- centred, upward curve of the grey floor’s upstage complete the image by introducing a most minimal and abstract notion of a landscape.

Photographer: Ivor Kerslake


Image 3

Th flown structure vanishes during a set of quick, nervous black-outs at the end of the Second Movement, leaving the stage absolutely empty except for the gentle curve of the suggested horizon line. Having gone through a set of dramatic thresholds, the principal character is led to a final state of eternal cam – and to eternity. Rid of the dark dress she wore for the First and Second Movements, she has joined the world of the more abstract, desaturated performers that surrounded her.

Photographer: Tristram Kenton