Barry Kay, internationally acclaimed stage and costume designer, photographer, born 1932 Melbourne Australia, died 1985 London England
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Opera – design index





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Opera Leos Janacek The Cunning Little Vixen Lake in the Forest Design Barry Kay Front Cloth Sadler's Wells Oprea 1961 Director Colin Graham Conductor Colin Davis


The Cunning Little Vixen

Příhody lišky Bystroušky


Assignment: Scenery / Costumes / Properties

Sadler's Wells Opera Company
Sadler's Wells Theatre, London
Première 22 March 1961

Colin Graham, direction





Front cloth design   XL

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Costume design by Barry Kay for Patricia Routledge as Belinda in ENGAGED! or CHEVIOT'S CHOICE, Act II, Opera; Theatre Royal, Windsor; Première  6 November 1962


Engaged! or Cheviot's Choice

Musical version of the farcical comedy Engaged

Assignment: Scenery / Costumes

Bristol Opera School [1]
Victoria Rooms, Bristol
World Première 27 March 1962

First professional production
Theatre Royal, Windsor
Première 6 November 1962





Costume for Patricia Routledge as Belinda, Act II

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Opera Richard Wagner The Meistersingers of Nuremberg Set Design Act I Barry Kay Royal Opera House London 1969 Director Conductor Georg Solti


Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

The Meistersingers of Nuremberg


Assignment: Scenery / Costumes / Properties

The Royal Opera
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
Première 24 January 1969

Rudolf Hartmann, production and direction





Set design - Act I   XXL

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Opera Mirrors of the Truth Set Design Model Maquette Barry Kay Nederlandse Opera Holland Festival 1982 Direction Jan Bouws


Mirrors of the Truth

Assignment: Scenery / Costumes / Properties

De Nederlandse Opera Stichting (now: De Nederlandse Opera)
'Muziektheater', Holland Festival [2]
Het HOT Theatrer, Den Haag
World Première 12 June 1982

Festival Tent, Frankendael Park, Amsterdam
First Night 17 June 1982

Jan Bouws, direction






Set model
actual stage setting


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Opera Peter Grimes Benjamin Britten Set Design Model Maquette Barry Kay intended for Royal Opera House London 1982


Peter Grimes

Assignment: Scenery / Costumes / Properties / Special Effects

Intended for the Victoria State Opera Company
State Theatre, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne
Designs created March - November 1984
Opening Night scheduled for week beginning 22 July 1985 [3]

John Copley, proposed direction






White model of the set   XL


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THE RAKE'S PROGRESS, The Garden, Act I, scene 1, set design by Barry Kay; early work, 1953; opera in three acts and an epilogue by Igor Stravinsky


The Rake's Progress

Assignment: Scenery [4] / Costumes [?]

Company [?]
Theatre [?], Location [?]
Première [?] 1953 [day, month ?]

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Set design
The Garden, Act I, scene 1


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Opera The Tell-Tale Heart Stage Setting Scene Design Barry Kay Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam Den Haag Holland Festival 1982 Direction Jan Bouws


The Tell-Tale Heart

Assignment: Scenery / Costumes / Properties

De Nederlandse Opera Stichting (now: De Nederlandse Opera)
'Muziektheater', Holland Festival [5]
Het HOT Theater, Den Haag
World Première 12 June 1982

Festival Tent, Frankendael Park, Amsterdam
First Night 17 June 1982

Jan Bouws, direction






Stage scene


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Set design by Barry Kay for 'The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore'; New Opera Company & Western Theatre Ballet; Sadler's Wells Theatre, London; Première 22 July 1958


The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore

Assignment: Scenery / Costumes

New Opera Company & Western Theatre Ballet [6]
Sadler's Wells Theatre, London
Première 22 July 1958

New Opera Company & Western Theatre Ballet
Theatre Royal, Bristol
First Night 28 June 1962; revised version

Peter Darrell, production and choreography

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Set design, centre section




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[1]

While Barry Kay's set and costume designs for Engaged! bear no references to performing venues, the costume drawings are, however, inscribed with the names of the singers, corresponding with the cast of the Windsor presentation. But there is no indication as to whether the designs applied to the Bristol staging as well. >> back to Engaded!





[2]

Mirrors of the Truth and The Tell-Tale Heart were presented as a double bill with one set serving both operas. >> back to Mirrors of the Truth





[3]

In 1953, when Barry Kay was still studying at the Académie Julian in Paris but settled in Melbourne again later that year, he created four scenery designs for The Rake's Progress – one for each of the three acts, and an act drop. Although the drawings are titled, dated and signed, they contain no reference to any performance data. It can therefore not be ascertained whether the designs constitute a study project, perhaps Kay's exam work In Paris, or were indeed intended for a Melbourne stage production. >> back to The Rake's Progress





[4]

For reason unbeknown to the Barry Kay Archive, the Victoria State Opera Company decided to abandon the production of Peter Grimes later in 1984 or in early 1985, thus terminating Barry Kay's design work midstream. By that time he had designed the preparatory so-called white model, or working model of miniature scale, and completed the final model at a scale of 1:25. The termination however put an end to designing the costumes. – See Biography for further information. >> back to Peter Grimes





[5]

The Tell-Tale Heart was performed in a drop-in scene arrangement placed within the stage setting of Mirrors of the Truth. >> back to The Tell-Tale Heart)





[6]

The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore is also listed in the Ballet Index, as it covers both opera and ballet. >> back to The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore



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