Reverie and Rectitude in ‘Rosenkavelier’, 2017/18

These drawings were made in a recent production of ‘Rosenkavelier’ at the WNO. I sat on a level with the stage and used a small drawing book balanced on my knees. The action of the opera appears in the top section while the audience and orchestra appear below. This separation of stage and audience found a useful division in the centre-fold of my book although having to work in darkness, my eyes always on the illuminated stage, I could not be sure to what extent this demarcation was observed or on what side of the fold each pencil was at any one time. I sat through three performances and drew continuously through the course of each from start to finish, tracing with three pencils the convolutions of the narrative. With the silent audience on either side of me, I had to work quietly, no sudden changes, only the spooling reverie of three pencils in an unexpectedly voluptuous dialogue with the stage. (Duchamp might have recognised the process; he used it himself, coining the term démultiplication).

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