When poetry comes to life in Las Majoreras

The members of the team that works in the Majoreras building the sets. / Juan Carlos Alonso

In a warehouse in the industrial estate located in Ingenio, the sets for the productions that the Canarian Friends of the Opera represent at the Pérez Galdós Theater are built

Victoriano Suarez Alamo

Between the initial idea that those responsible for the opera season put to the set designer until the set is a reality and begins to be assembled in the
Perez Galdos Theater a long road of months, work and sometimes last-minute hassles unfolds that passes through a warehouse located
in the industrial estate of Las Majorerasin the Gran Canaria municipality of
Ingenuity.

Among industrial buildings of all kinds, who would have thought that the lyric would have an enclave. Industrial, yes, but also very creative and artistic. Since mid-April, the team he leads
Miguel Maroto as head of machinery and workshopworks on the scenery of
'The tales of Hoffmann' (Les contes de Hoffmann), a piece in three acts by Jacques Offenbach with which the 55th season of Ópera de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria-Alfredo Kraus ends, organized by the association
Canary Friends of the Opera (ACO).

"It's an opera c
complicated and laborious at the scenic level. The design includes an ascending staircase that is quite complex. But it is also a very nice project to do, although everything gets complicated, because the construction of the scenery is combined with the season itself. The one for 'The Tales of Hoffmann' we began to build,
from scratch, mid-late April», while they came and went from the Pérez Galdós with the assembly and disassembly of the previous title,
Ernani by Verdi Maroto explains.

attractive challenges

«I like beautiful sets to make, but I like to do them with time, without rushing and being overwhelmed, but that is not always achieved. There are times when we call the set designer to do
adjustments with your initial idea because we see that time doesn't give us”, confesses who is in charge of a team of five people and who since yesterday has been assembling on the stage of the Pérez Galdós what has been built in Las Majoreras.

The gestation process of each set is as follows. From ACO an order is made to the
chosen set designerwhich for 'Hoffmann's tales' is a regular this season, the
Carlos Santos from Gran Canaria. «We explain the idea we have and from there and from his own conception of the opera he makes some sketches», he explains.
Ulises Jaén, artistic director of ACO.

Works in the warehouse where the next set design for ACO is being prepared. /

Juan Carlos Alonso

The first contacts with the set designer begin, Ulises Jaén points out, «
a year or a year and a half beforebut sometimes with less time, since it depends on whether or not you know the opera so that you study it in depth before carrying out the sketches».

with the stage manager

When Carlos Santos, in this case, puts on paper his idea for this opera by Offenbach, «
polishes it with the stage manager», which for this assembly on June 21, 23 and 25, always at 8:00 p.m. in the enclosure at the mouth of the Guiniguada ravine, is
Daniel Piscopo.

Between the two they coordinate their respective ideas so that the scenery adjusts to the movements of the
singers and extras, as well as the location of the choir and the development of the libretto.

After this phase, there is a meeting with Ulises Jaén himself and
the head of production for the ACO season, Laura Navarro, where the approval is given or not for its "implementation in the Pérez Galdós". If you pass this filter, which includes the final budget -the set designer provides a previous one that is later adjusted-, all that remains is the approval of the
ACO board of directorssays Ulises Jaén, so that the plans and sketches reach those responsible for its construction.

This last title of the season has a set that has been built with wood and plywood. «
There are reliable set designers who already know what materials I use and they fit. Others from outside tell me what they want to use and from there I advise them and tell them what I think, based on our previous experience.
They tend to accept our ideas», comments the head of machinery and workshop.

Miguel Maroto points out that since ACO set up its workshop in Las Majoreras they have been working
"with wood". «In the previous ship we also worked with iron, but in this ship we cannot do it. We mostly use
Pine, because it is the cheapest and lightest wood. We also employ for some parts
plywoods. The two materials weigh little and are resistant. That is fundamental, because there are parts that hang. There are parts of the set where the singers do climb, such as on the ascending ladder in this show, but not in other parts. There are also the platforms where the members of the choir climb.
The calculations are made by the set designer and for some cases they require
certifications by engineers», emphasizes the head of the team.

Light and resistant

Maroto acknowledges that this work, which he does outside of the ACO season for different stage production companies, "is very nice." “I love building sets.
It is very different from carpentry. Carpenters when they start in this do very heavy things, when here it is necessary to take into account that
be light and resistant. I used to work in a carpentry shop and I won't go back, because the work there is very monotonous », she says while they were working on a set that was moved days later in a container by road to the Pérez Galdós.

This opera and 'Don Pasquale' have had sets built and staged from scratch this year by ACO and it may
be rented in the future to other theaters and seasons national and international, from which the operatic proposal of the capital of Gran Canaria is also nourished.

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