Designer Yafet Bisrat of Rose Studio (UK) collaborated with the English National Opera for “The Rhinegold” (above, left) and “The Dead City” (above, right), resulting in submissions for two upcoming productions into the Poster 2024 Awards call for entries. By focusing on the stories and collaborating with talented artists, Rose is helping to break down the perception that opera is elitist and expensive. Let’s take a deeper look.
By: Rose Studio
“Our brief from English National Opera was simple: “make opera more accessible.” But in researching further, one of the key challenges was the perception and assumption that opera is elitist, expensive, and sung in a foreign language. So ENO asked us to help them break down barriers and connect them with new culturally literate audiences they should be attracting.
“Our resulting solution to their marketing takes its inspiration from the publishing world, where a strong, simple, graphic approach to storytelling on a cover will engage buyers visually. Still, it’s the synopsis on the back that often clinches a purchase.”
“Set in the rich and fantastical world of Norse Mythology, The Rhinegold (Das Rheingold, in German) is the first part of Wagner’s famous four ‘Ring-cycle’ operas, presenting the Rhinemaidens (water nymphs) having the gold within their charge stolen from the depths of the Rhine river. An epic quest for the gold—and the ring which will ultimately be made from it—ensues.
“So for this production, we collaborated with the amazing T.J. Drysdale, whose epic, fantasy-inspired photographic artworks are world-renowned. His captivating style provided the perfect atmosphere and visual intrigue to reflect this incredible story. In our image, the ‘Rhinemaiden’ is seen embarking on the search for the stolen gold amidst an epic, Norse-inspired landscape. We also worked with long-time collaborator and expert wordsmith Andy Rigden, who has distilled and crafted each opera story into its most reduced form for the past six production seasons to ensure copy and image form an inseparable relationship for audiences.
“Now, all ENO’s campaigns lead with the stories (rather than a title only likely to mean something to opera lovers) and clarify that each production is either sung or translated, into English, with tickets available for every production at affordable price points to appeal to new, younger and less privileged audiences, who may previously have concluded opera was not for them.”
The Dead City