A look at Frank Gehry’s set for ‘Don Giovanni’ at L.A. Phil


When you hire Frank Gehry to design a set for an opera production, you can be sure the famed architect won’t deliver anything remotely conventional or literal-minded.

Gehry’s set for Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” finally met the public on Friday at the first performance of the new production by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The elaborate set had been kept under tight wraps by orchestra officials until the production premiered over the weekend.

The Los Angeles architect created towering abstract shapes that served as the backdrop for the story of a lothario’s comeuppance. Mostly monochromatic white, Gehry’s design features giant crumpled forms dominating the stage of Walt Disney Concert Hall. The set also features large white cubes and a staircase.


The production was staged by Christopher Alden, with Gustavo Dudamel leading the orchestra seated on the chorus benches behind the stage. The fashion house of Rodarte, lead by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, designed the costumes.

Times music critic Mark Swed wrote in his review that Gehry’s abstract shapes “serve as an exciting metaphor for the characters of a complicated plot that ends with the reprobate Don dragged to the underworld.”

Gehry designed Disney Hall and is a member of the orchestra’s board of directors.

“Don Giovanni” will be performed on Thursday and Saturday.


Frank Gehry sketches out ‘Don Giovanni’ for L.A. Phil

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