Leslie Travers

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Award winning designer Leslie Travers trained at the Wimbledon School of Art‚ and is now recognised as one of the leading stage designers of his generation. He was recently honoured by Liverpool Institute of the Performing Arts by being made a "Companion of LIPA" (their Honorary Doctorate).

Current and most recent projects include Masque of Might, Rondine and Falstaff (Opera North), Aida (St Gallen), Simon Boccanegra (Latvian National Opera and Ballet), Francesca da Rimini and Manon Lescaut (La Scala‚ Milan)‚ Antigone (Regent's Park OpenAir Theatre), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Oper Leipzig), Le Nozze di Figaro (Israeli Opera), I Puritani (Gran Teatro del Liceu‚ Barcelona)‚ Werther (Opéra National de Lorraine‚ winner of Prix de la critique Claude Rostand prize‚ and then Opéra de Québec and Marseille)‚ Al Wasl (Welsh National Opera at Dubai Expo), Bluebeard's Castle and Cav & Pag (Athens); Don Pasquale (Nancy); Le Baron Tzigane (Grand Théâtre de Genève)‚ Katya Kabanova (Scottish Opera and Theater Magdeburg)‚ Billy Budd and The Merry Widow (Opera North)‚ Peter Grimes (Theater Magdeburg and Theater Basel), The Excursions of Mr Broucek (Grange Park Opera), Rusalka (Santa Fe), The Marriage of Figaro (Kansas City Opera/Opera Philadelphia/San Diego Opera)‚ Fiddler on the Roof (Malmö Opera)‚ Clemenza di Tito (Opera Theatre of St Louis)‚ Carmen (Welsh National Opera)‚ Orfeus: A House Music Opera (Young Vic Theatre), Twelfth Night and Death of a Salesman (Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre).

Further designs for opera include: Don Carlos (Grange Park Opera)‚ Pleasure, Giulio Cesare, Albert Herring (Opera North)‚ I Puritani (Welsh National Opera/Den Jyske Opera)‚ Elysium (Den Norske Opera)‚ The Haunted Manor (Polish National Opera‚ Teatr Wielki)‚ Salome (Santa Fe Opera)‚ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Opera Holland Park and OHP @ The Linbury‚ ROH)‚ La Bohème, Jenufa (Malmö Opera)‚ Grimes on the Beach (Opera North/Aldeburgh Music)‚ Tannhäuser (Estonian National Opera)‚ Otello (Scottish Opera/Opera North)‚ Don Giovanni (Garsington Opera)‚ The Merry Widow and I Capuleti e I Montecchi (Opera Australia/Opera North)‚ Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Malmö Opera‚ Sweden)‚ Roméo et Juliette (Opera Ireland) ‚ L’arbore di Diana (Palau de les Arts Reina Sophia‚ Valencia)‚ The Children’s Crusade (Luminato Festival‚ Toronto)‚ Véronique (Buxton)‚ The Fortunes of King Croesus (Opera North/Minnesota Opera)‚ Iolanta/Gianni Schicchi (RAM)‚ Le Nozze de Figaro (Graz Opera – Ring Award 2005)‚ Hans Heiling (Opéra du Rhin – European Opera Prize).

Theatre designs include: Rebecca (Kneehigh/David Pugh Ltd)‚ Twelfth Night (Chichester Festival Theatre)‚ The Duchess of MalfiStreets of RageSilent Cry (West Yorkshire Playhouse)‚ The Persian Revolution (Lyric Hammersmith)‚ The Man with Two Gaffers (York Theatre Royal)‚ Veriete (Lindsay Kemp Company‚ World Tour).

Dance and ballet designs include: CinderellaLe CorsaireThe Nutcracker and Swan Lake (K-ballet‚ Japan – Asahi Award 2006 for Nutcracker‚ and 2005 for Swan Lake)‚ Some? (Space 211‚ Paris)‚ Cinderella (National Ballet of Portugal)‚ The Lark Ascending (English National Ballet).

Leslie has been nominated for countless theatre awards‚ which have led to wins for Francesca da Rimini- La Scala-Franco Abbiati Award for Best Set Design Italy 2018, Grimes on the Beach-Opera North/Aldeburgh Music (Best Anniversary Production – International Opera Awards 2014 and What’s On Stage – Opera Event of The Year)‚ for Otello-Scottish Opera and Opera North (Manchester Theatre Awards 2014 – Best Opera)‚ for The Children’s Crusade- Luminato Festival‚ Toronto (Dora Mavor Moore Award Best Opera Production 2010) and for Vurt Contact Theatre (Arthur Peter Design Award).

Falstaff - Opera North

4 * “Superbly realised”

The staging, directed by Olivia Fuchs, is a clear marker for the company and its production team as well as for designers such as Leslie Travers – responsible for the sets for all three new productions playing either in Leeds or on tour between now and mid-November.

Opera North’s capacious stores have been assiduously raided, and if there are scenes where the result has a somewhat randomly assembled look, there are plenty of others that are unqualified visual wins. Falstaff’s home is a cluttered caravan, where the down-at-heel aristocrat hatches his money-making and seduction schemes. The second scene opens on a tennis court, with Fenton and Nannetta enjoying a game. Innumerable discarded antlers from the deer-park at nearby Harewood House give a magical look to Herne’s Oak in the final Windsor Forest scene. Throughout, the weather patterns in the recycled sky match the changing moods within and between individual scenes.

The Stage (October 2023)

4* "Opera North puts a twinkle in Sir John’s eye in gleeful – and green – staging"

But the appearance of an oak tree assembled entirely from antlers (real ones, discarded by the deer of Harewood House) has real magic about it: one of several masterstrokes from Leslie Travers, whose designs will interconnect across all three “green” productions.

Its carbon footprint might be small, but this Falstaff has a huge smile on its face.

The Guardian (October 2023)

Opera North’s Green Season consists of three operas, all relying on sets, props and costumes that have been sourced from previous productions or bought second-hand. Under the guidance of set designer Leslie Travers the designs for all three have been crafted from these materials and we are told that we will discern similarities between them.

So how does this affect Falstaff? For a start a splendid caravan has been found, home to Falstaff (on a pub car park, one imagines) and decorated with all that one might imagine for Falstaff, notably a dart board (outside) and a drinks cabinet (inside). The design team shows a sense of humour too, with a sweet little deer that appears in every scene, including the mayhem in Windsor Forest where Falstaff, as Herne the hunter with a magnificent set of horns, undergoes ritual humiliation.

The Reviews Hub (October 2023)

There’s a charmingly retro feel to Opera North’s new Falstaff, which comes from it being done as part of their new “green”, i.e. ecologically conscious, season.

Leslie Travers’ set is made of bits from other productions and – most notably – shows Falstaff’s home as a worn-out little 1970s caravan, actually found unwanted in the grounds of a pub on the north side of Leeds by resourceful operatic bargain hunters.

The Arts Desk (October 2023)

Leslie Travers’ designs are worth the wait.

The Opera Critic (October 2023)

Orpheus - Opera North

This is one of those amazing evenings when it’s impossible to work out who did what to make it such a triumph. With apologies, therefore, to the ones left out, let’s give thanks to Laurence Cummings and Jasdeep Singh Degun for getting (and keeping) this show on the road, Leslie Travers for wonderful designs atmospherically lit by Jackie Shemesh and no fewer than six people who worked on translations.

The Reviews Hub (October 2022)

Leslie Travers’ brightly coloured costumes are lovely to look at

BachTrack (October 2022)

The design (Leslie Travers) is enchanting from the start: full of colour and gloriously detailed.

The Arts Desk (October 2022)

Leslie Travers costumes and set are so richly colourful and enhanced by Jackie Shemesh’s atmospheric lighting.

The Opera Critic (October 2022)

Our scene is a wedding party in the back garden of a British suburban semi on a cloudy day. There’s beauty to the everyday setting: verdant plants, colourful balloons, atmospheric fairy lights.

The Times (October 2022)

Leslie Travers’s set, which on more than one occasion drew gasps from the audience, is the elongated garden of an end-terrace house, with lush greenery all around and about the musicians, and shifting light (designed by Jackie Shemesh) thrown onto an impressive and evocative backdrop of clouds.

British Theatre Guide (October 2022)

The designs by Leslie Travers and team achieve a clever union of real and surreal (makers of rugs, balloons, textiles, backcloth, as well as head gardener, are among the many credited). Fairy lights illuminate the garden. Costumes display the bright, bejewelled colours of celebration.

The Guardian (October 2022)

The setting – the whole concept – of Opera North’s new Orpheus is strikingly original and brilliantly achieved.

The Spectator (October 2022)

Antigone - Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

The throb and thrill of the staging is beguiling, along with the clean visual magnificence of Leslie Travers’s set design, which literally throws its opening set off the stage and uses emptiness to maximum effect with fire, smoke and spotlighting.

Guardian (September 2022)

Leslie Travers' distinctive 3D set is used both for physical leverage and as a visual mark of corruption, as Antigone's name is broken into pieces and thrown onto the grass. The empty stage feels vast and cold, reverberating each instance of suffering against dead concrete walls.

Broadway World (September 2022)

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Oper Leipzig)

Leslie Travers’s set featured a high, stepped amphitheatre with models of old buildings to represent the title city. In Act 1 we were in a Nuremberg where everyone sported colourful, faux-Renaissance velvet cloaks and tights. In Act 2 we moved into the first half of the 20th century and the costume designer Marie-Jeanne Lecca added more modern styles to the mix; the finale’s confrontation between two ghostly, quasiuniformed gangs in black and red seemed to represent an organized conflict rather than an impromptu street brawl. In Act 3 we were in a postwar world. The interior of Sachs’s house at the outset was topped with a model of a city destroyed by bombing; later a model of the Bundestag in Berlin inexplicably appeared as a centrepiece for the final Johannistag gathering and contest.

Opera Magazine (September 2022)

The Excursions of Mr Broucek, Grange Park Opera

The director David Pountney has done more than most to unravel Janáček’s operatic genius for our time; here he sets himself the task of making the composer’s sole comedy both funny and culturally specific, turning the brutish and blotto Mr Brouček into a universal figure of fun, while grounding the tale firmly in Czech history and culture. He’s helped by Leslie Travers’s excellent toytown set, souvenirs of Prague clustered together and moving around under a broken plate as the roof, with Marie-Jeanne Lecca’s costumes adding zany notes of local reference under Tim Mitchell’s vivid lighting.

Daily Telegraph (June 2022)

Leslie Travers’ striking set is a pop art junkyard of Czech tourist tat, but even his giant lunar sausage (very Jeff Koons) is outdone by Marie-Jeanne Lecca’s riotous costumes. Moon-dwellers are zipped into shimmering latex while in 1420 Prague the Hussite elders are ingeniously presented as living statues, as if their plinths have just been wheeled off Charles Bridge.

The Times (June 2022)

Grange Park’s staging is slick and snazzy, its intricate gags seemingly timed to the millisecond. The design team has done it proud, with designer Leslie Travers, costume designer Marie-Jean Lecca and lighting designer Tim Mitchell clothing it in the colour and whimsy of Monty Python cartoons (minus the big pink foot). There’s a dancing delivery person with a string of Frankfurters and a brief starring role for a hoover; Act II’s towering dignitaries are wheeled about on piles of delivery crates and Brouček makes his moon journey on an outsize beer can with wings.

The Arts Desk (June 2022)

Scenes change rapidly, from lunar landscape to Hussite past (lively designs by Leslie Travers and Marie-Jeanne Lecca

The Guardian (June 2022)

Leslie Travers’s virtuosic toy-town set firmly anchored the action on the Old Town of Prague—the stage was a veritable junkyard of tourist tat, from a giant snow globe to models of the Charles Bridge and Astronomical Clock, not to mention some socialist realist leftovers, all dominated by a chipped souvenir plate. In Marie-Jeanne Lecca’s zany costumes, the Hussite dignitaries were statues wheeled around on their plinths. In place of Svatopluk Čech in Part 2’s cameo by the Apparition of the Poet, we saw an author behind bars, perhaps a reference to Václav Havel but maybe even to one of the librettists, Viktor Dyk, himself hauled off to a Viennese prison and sentenced to death (later commuted).

Opera Magazine (September 2022)

The Marriage of Figaro, Opera North

Gabrielle Dalton’s beautiful costume designs, James Farncombe’s limpid lighting and Leslie Travers’ delicate sets all contributed to the show’s success.

MusicOMH (February 2020)

...Leslie Travers’ sets are suitably opulent.

The Stage (February 2020)

Leslie Travers’ stage set and James Farncombe’s lighting creatively works well over the four acts with the versatile use and smooth transition of the staging, particularly the doors, windows and staircase.

The Reviews Hub (February 2020)

Giulio Cesare, Opera North

This was a most satisfying revival of Tim Albery’s 2012 production of Giulio Cesare in Egitto by Opera North, with its remarkable rotating set designed by Leslie Travers. First seen as a kind of dark, sawn-off pyramid, it is pushed by slaves in sackcloth to reveal shimmering interiors signifying the luxury and treasure of Ancient Egypt, an irresistible lure for the world power on the opposite side of the Mediterranean. Lit with subtle skill (by Thomas C Hase), it becomes a location for intimate exchanges and a background for war. So much glitters and gleams in this production: mirror-like walls, spangled clothing, reflections of water, the narrow blades of death-dealing daggers. Murderous official power is represented by golden, stiletto-like finger attachments.

Bachtrack (September 2019)

Thomas C. Hase’s lighting finely pointed up the differences between the glitz of Egypt and the formality of Rome, and Leslie Travers’ set designs powerfully evoked the tawdriness of one and the grandeur of the other.

MusicOMH (September 2019)

Leslie Travers' designs were simple yet spectacular, a truncate pyramid which came apart to reveal a gilded interior. So that for the seduction scene, candles and light from a reflecting pool in the middle created a setting as seductive visually as the performance was musically and dramatically.

Planet Hugill (September 2019)

Leslie Travers’ set and costumes are never merely decorative. Cesare’s mud-stained great-coat and the massive finger-nail extensions of Tolomeo are equally symbols of power, of the battle-hardened campaigning general and the vain self-glorifying king; the matching blue silk of Tolomeo and Cleopatra emphasizes their royal status; Sesto’s cadet uniform and Achilla’s fascist-general look are equally suggestive of their status. The set is manoeuvred by “slaves” to present a craggy block of masonry or a burnished gold interior, often full of candle-lit reflections: battle-field and palace, Rome and Egypt

The Reviews Hub (September 2019)

Albery’s 2012 staging has been effectively revived here in a revolving set (Leslie Travers) that symbolically captures the dual nature of the opera. One side is grim, grey battlements, the other glitzy gold mirrors and sunken baths.

The Times (September 2019)

The citadel whose battlements they are first seen on revolves to reveal interiors. In the grand seduction scene, the set and costume designs of Leslie Travers and Thomas C. Hase’s lighting come into their own; the mirrored golden walls, the candle-light, the shimmering dress and the rippling water, together with that voice, provide a sensory overload for Marie Sanner’s war-wearied Cesare.

The Opera Critic (September 2019)

The backbone to this neatly integrated production was Leslie Travers’s ingenious revolving set, whose two sides offered a choice between monolithic, pyramid-style battlements, reflecting the civil war, or gold mirrors and a sunken pool redolent of the court’s sybaritic lifestyle.

Opera Magazine (December 2019)

Carmen, Welsh National Opera

...Leslie Travers’ superb set, beautifully lit by Oliver Fenwick, of a semi-circular tenement block full of walkways, stairwells and steel-net fencing. Rich in atmosphere, this is a concept flexible enough to morph into Lillas Pastia’s tavern, the smugglers’ lair and the street outside the bullring.

The Telegraph (September 2019)

With excellent sets, costumes and lighting by Leslie Travers, Gabrielle Dalton and Oliver Fenwick, this is a Carmen for our times…

The Article (September 2019)

With a monumental but adaptable unit set by Leslie Travers...

The Stage (September 2019)

The Marriage of Figaro, Cincinnati Opera

In the Cincinnati Opera’s superb production, the gifted production designer Leslie Travers bluntly fleshes the moral decay leading to the French Revolution—a visual environment that brings stage director Stephen Lawless’s edgy concept to life.

Seen and Heard International (June 2019)

Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is the ideal opener for Cincinnati Opera’s 2019 season; the show features terrific performances (both onstage and in the orchestra pit), witty staging and lots of slamming doors.
The scenic design works beautifully. Two large bas-relief panels form a backdrop of a gnarly tree hung with family portraits. Suddenly, we discover that the portraits are windows suitable for peeping and that doors materialize out of nowhere.

City Beat (June 2019)

Don Carlo, Grange Park Opera

In Don Carlo, Verdi explores the tensions deriving within and between the protagonists from the conflict between their human yearnings and the rigidity of institutions and roles. The sets by Leslie Travers reflect this. Unadorned concrete-like walls confine characters’ action, making visible the harsh framework which shaped and now tests them. With ingenious versatility, the sets transform to incorporate elements crucial to each scene: the flickering candles of a monastery, the water fountain in the palace gardens, the dreaded auto da fé...

Seen and Heard International (June 2019)

Central to the production are Leslie Travers stylish and imaginative sets which provide a series of striking backdrops for the intimate scenes yet facilitate creating a remarkable amount of grandeur on a relatively small stage.

Planet Hugill (June 2019)

Manon Lescaut, Teatro alla Scala, Milano

David Pountney sposta l’azione dal Settecento originale a un fine Ottocento molto evocativo grazie alle suggestive luci di Fabrice Kebour, agli eleganti costumi di Marie-Jeanne Lecca, nonché alle belle scene di Leslie Travers che ambienta l’intera vicenda in una stazione ferroviaria che ricorda molto la parigina Gare d’Orsay. E il treno diviene così uno degli elementi centrali nella narrazione del regista inglese… ///
David Pountney moves the action from the original eighteenth century to a very evocative late nineteenth century thanks to the suggestive lights of Fabrice Kebour , the elegant costumes of Marie-Jeanne Lecca , and the beautiful scenes of Leslie Traversthat sets the whole story in a train station that is very reminiscent of the Parisian Gare d'Orsay. And the train thus becomes one of the central elements in the narration of the English director…

Connessi all'Opera (April 2019)

La scenografia firmata da Leslie Travers ambienta l'azione in una stazione ferroviaria fine Ottocento. I reperti di archeologia industriale funzionano perfettamente nel primo atto con l'andirivieni della locomotiva fumante e nel quarto con le campate di ferro disgregate e gli orologi sprofondati nella sabbia (un paesaggio alla Dalì o alla Magritte)...///
The scenography designed by Leslie Travers sets the action in a railway station at the end of the nineteenth century. The finds of industrial archeology work perfectly in the first act with the comings and goings of the steaming locomotive and in the fourth with the disintegrated iron spans and the clocks sunk in the sand (a Dalì or Magritte landscape)...

Giornale della Musica (April 2019)

A sweeping wrought-iron structure of a railway hosting frenetic activity, a sumptuous railway carriage that doubles up as a baroque den of delights and a Dalí-esque envisioning of the station invaded by desert all provide impactful backdrops

The Financial Times (April 2019)

Enormes máquinas de vapor—magníficamente diseñadas por su escenógrafo habitual Leslie Travers y realizadas con detallado realismo por los artesanos-artistas del atelier de La Scala...
El escenógrafo Leslie Travers ha seguido con profesionalidad y arte las instrucciones de David Poutney. Los decorados están magníficamente diseñados, realizados e inspirados visiblemente en fotografías de la época.///
Huge steam engines-magnificently designed by their usual Leslie Travers scenographer and made with detailed realism by the artisans-artists of La Scala atelier...
The set designer Leslie Travers has followed David Poutney's instructions with professionalism and art . The sets are magnificently designed, made and visibly inspired by photographs of the time.

Beckmesser.com (April 2019)

l’impatto visivo è a dir poco grandioso: le scene di Leslie Travers sono impressionanti...///the visual impact is nothing short of grandiose: the scenes of Leslie Travers are impressive...

Teatri Online (April 2019)

Katya Kabanova‚ Scottish Opera

Scottish Opera’s fine production of Katya Kabanova – directed by Stephen Lawless‚ vividly conducted by Stuart Stratford‚ and performed in the original Czech – is one of tremendous power.
Many elements combine to achieve this. Designer Leslie Travers has created a monumental set dominated by a vast‚ rusty iron bridge traversing the muddy reed-beds of a small town on the river Volga during the late Soviet era.

The Stage (March 2019)

...designed with desolate beauty by Leslie Travers

The Observer (March 2019)

Scottish Opera’s new production‚ by Stephen Lawless‚ places the action of the opera firmly in the countryside. Leslie Travers’s ingenious set is a pair of rising and falling gantries that suggest a footbridge over mudflats on the Volga‚ with the action played out against the constant toing and froing of the Kabanovs’ neighbours.

The Sunday Times (March 2019)

A rust-red iron bridge descends, with parallel walkways which pedestrians cross purposefully, or meeting friends and stopping to chat. As Vanya and Boris do, helpfully filling us in on the backstory. Local life happens round the bridge – when the weather changes, pedestrians struggle against the wind, and local drunks shelter under it...Lesley Travers’ set invokes a grubby industrial landscape...

The Opera Critic (March 2019)

Leslie Traver's set and costumes placed the drama roughly in the period, about a century ago, in which the opera was written. The single set, combining a stage-wide overhead steel bridge, a mud-flat floor and various riverside reed-vbed, adapted surprisingly well to each scene, so that we captured the flavour of the Kabanov household's mercantile interests as much as it's inner tensions and escapist dreams.

Opera Magazine (May 2019)

The Haunted Manor‚ Teatr Wielki Opera arodowa

'Leslie Travers’s ingenious sets‚ which are both alluringly romantic and crisply modernistic‚ gave the action a panoramic quality...'

Opera News (November 2018)

Death of a Salesman‚ Royal Exchange Theatre

Leslie Travers’s ingenious sets‚ which are both alluringly romantic and crisply modernistic‚ gave the action a panoramic quality...

Opera News (November 2018)

Leslie Travers’ poetic set consists of a large copper-coloured disk that resembles an eye. Above this hangs a canopy of greenery‚ while a simple kitchen table represents the Loman home‚ the mortgage payments on which are nearing completion. The design‚ with its slightly fantastical forest-like quality‚ heightens the sense of this being a dream play‚ one in which internal and external worlds are blurred.

The Stage (October 2018)

Don Warrington wears Loman’s pain from the outset: he shuffles onto Leslie Travers’ rusting circular stage‚ trapped between its magnetic force and the verdant canopy of inverted trees that overhangs‚ just out of reach.

What’s on Stage (October 2018)

The Merry Widow‚ Opera North

The production is very pleasing to the eye with its breathtaking sets and stunning periodic costumes‚ courtesy of Leslie Travers who is known for his exciting and creative staging around the world

The Reviews Hub (September 2018)

Werther‚ Opéra national de Lorraine

D’apparence classique‚ d’une scénographie somptueuse‚ elle séduit par les subtilités d’un décor rempli de perspectives accentuées et orné de superbes toiles peintes affichant une nature absente par ailleurs. Le plafond se soulève parfois selon les situations‚ apportant une échappée dans cet univers très clos et étouffant‚ renvoyant aux conventions sociales qui brident les personnages. Ce n’est qu’au dernier tableau que les murs tombent‚ donnant sur un noir abyssal inquiétant‚ renforçant l’action où les vrais sentiments peuvent enfin éclore de part et d’autre‚ sans limites.///With a classic appearance and a sumptuous scenography‚ it seduces with the subtleties of a decor filled with accentuated perspectives and adorned with beautiful painted canvases displaying a nature otherwise absent. The ceiling sometimes rises depending on the situation‚ bringing an escape in this universe very closed and stuffy‚ referring to the social conventions that constrain the characters. It is only at the last painting that the walls fall‚ giving onto a disturbing abyssal black‚ reinforcing the action where the true feelings can finally hatch on both sides‚ without limits.

altamusica (May 2018)

Le spectacle proposé à Nancy nous montre donc la nature uniquement telle que l’homme se la représente et se l’approprie dans ses intérieurs‚ à travers ces papiers peints panoramiques si à la mode à l’époque où Goethe écrivit son roman épistolaire. Le premier acte se déroule ainsi non pas devant mais dans la maison du Bailli‚ dont le plafond se soulève pour révéler les vives couleurs dont Werther sait parer le panorama un peu défraîchi qui orne les murs. Au troisième acte‚ on passe à un panorama bien plus sombre et tourmenté : c’est un paysage plus Sturm und Drang‚ qui décore la demeure de Charlotte‚ percé d’un couloirs tortueux qui traduit les angoisses des personnages principaux‚ avant qu’une absence quasi-totale de décor renvoie finalement Werther et Charlotte à leur seuls sentiments. Dans ce décor dont les grands pans de mur aident à bien projeter les voix vers la salle...///
The show proposed in Nancy shows us nature only as man pictures it and appropriates it in its interiors‚ through these panoramic wallpapers so fashionable at the time when Goethe wrote his epistolary novel. The first act takes place not in front of‚ but in the house of the Bailli‚ whose ceiling rises to reveal the bright colors of which Werther knows stave off the somewhat worn-out panorama adorning the walls. In the third act‚ we move to a much darker and more tormented panorama: it is a landscape more Sturm und Drang‚ which decorates the residence of Charlotte‚ pierced by a tortuous corridors which expresses the anxieties of the main characters‚ before an almost total absence of scenery finally returns Werther and Charlotte to only their feelings. In this setting‚ whose large sections of wall help to project the voices to the room…

Forum Opera (May 2018)

Francesca da Rimini‚ La Scala

Le scene pensate da Leslie Travers e la regia di David Pountney hanno come centro proprio lo spirito dannunziano‚ cui il lavoro di Zandonai si ispirò‚ attraverso la sottolineatura prepotente dei due temi più cari al poeta vate: la donna‚ rappresentata da un enorme mezzo busto modellato sulle opere di Canova‚ e la guerra‚ protagonista del secondo atto‚ con la torre rotonda qui reinterpretata tramite una struttura metallica circolare a tre piani armata di cannoni. Non poteva mancare ovviamente il libro‚ enorme‚ che funge anche da alcova‚ avidamente letto dai due innamorati‚ sui quali sovrasta costante la minaccia‚ rappresentata da una serie di lame che trapassano la figura femminile di fondo.///The scenes designed by Leslie Travers and directed by David Pountney center the very D’Annunzio spirit‚ which Zandonai’s work inspired‚ through the overbearing emphasis of the two themes most dear to the poet vate: the woman‚ represented by a huge half-length modeled on the works of Canova‚ and the war‚ protagonist of the second act‚ with the round tower here reinterpreted through a three-storey circular metal structure armed with cannons. Of course‚ the book could not be missing‚ which also acts as an alcove‚ avidly read by the two lovers‚ on which the threat is constantly dominated‚ represented by a series of blades that pierce the underlying female figure.

Teatro.it (May 2018)

The libretto by Tito Ricordi relies on Gabriele D’Annunzio’s drama‚ which depicts the Medieval setting of the action with gloomy colors‚ with violent passions dominating over the greedy characters‚ and in which men are mostly concerned with war and intrigue. Against this background‚ women are a sort of foreign body: they are also guided by passions‚ but depend completely on men‚ and can only try to cope with their helplessness.
Set designer Leslie Travers captured the difference between sexes by staging the opening scene‚ with the maids playing‚ later joined by Francesca and her sister‚ in a light setting dominated by a reclining‚ gigantic female statue. When the men break into this environment‚ the statue is pierced by long black spears. In the second act‚ the men are at war. A rotating structure serves as the base for Paolo and his brothers‚ who come from the battlefield. Back to the female ambience again in the third act‚ a biplane reminds of Gabriele D’Annunzio and his war rhetoric (the poet fought in the Italian Air Force in the First World War)‚ as do fascist uniforms that appear among costumes‚ by costume designer Marie-Jeanne Lecca‚ partly a reminder of the First World War‚ partly of the Middle Ages.

The Opera Critic (May 2018)

The "brilliant garden" in Leslie Travers’ scenography was a dazzling white environment dominated by a gigantic female figure which at the end of the Act 1 was pierced by sharp points when the violent male world broke in. In the war scene that followed one could see a menacing rotating structure with cannons and the flashes of their shots concluded Act 2.

BachTrack (April 2018)

Eine überdimensionale weiße Venus-Statue dominiert das bedeutungsschwangere zylindrische Bühnenbild von Leslie Travers. Um den weißen reinen Raum der Francesca legt sich ein schwarzer Metallring‚ bewehrt mit Kanonen‚ aus denen zum Ende des zweiten Aktes aus vollen Rohren geschossen wird. Danach ist die weiße Venus von schwarzen Speeren durchbohrt‚ und Francesca und Paolo sterben am Ende einen Fantasietod‚ während sie zwischen den Seiten eines riesigen Buches liegen - ein Bild dafür‚ dass der geliebte Paolo nur eine Projektion von Francescas Sehnsucht nach Liebe ist. ///An oversized white Venus statue dominates the meaningful cylindrical stage design of Leslie Travers. A black metal ring surrounds the white‚ clean room of the Francesca‚ reinforced with cannons‚ from which‚ at the end of the second act‚ it is fired from full pipes. Afterwards‚ the white Venus is pierced by black spears‚ and Francesca and Paolo eventually die a fantasy death while lying between the pages of a huge book - a picture that the beloved Paolo is only a projection of Francesca’s yearning for love.

BR Klassik (April 2018)

La scena realizzata da Leslie Travers presenta così un enorme busto femminile bianco‚ vagamente neoclassico‚ che a un certo punto viene confitto da lance‚ a significare lo stupro subito dalla protagonista (che si credeva destinata a Paolo e invece deve sposare lo sciancato Gianciotto) e più in generale la brutale penetrazione dell’universo femminile da parte di quello maschile. ///
The scene created by Leslie Travers presents a huge white female bust‚ vaguely neoclassical‚ which at one point is pierced by spears‚ signifying the rape suffered by the protagonist (who was believed to be destined for Paolo and instead has to marry the cripple Gianciotto) and more generally the brutal penetration of the feminine universe by the masculine one.

Connessi all’Opera (April 2018)

La scenografa Leslie Travers con bell’effetto ha inventato una sorta di cavea occupata da un busto canoviano di donna nuda‚ che nell’evolversi della vicenda viene trafitto da lance e dotato di due mani‚ una a reggere il libro "galeotto" che serve anche da letto del peccato e un’altra a sorreggere il biplano del vate che vola su Vienna a lanciare "parole". ///
The scenographer Leslie Travers with beautiful effect invented a sort of cavea occupied by a woman’s bust of Canova naked‚ which in the evolution of the story is pierced by spears and equipped with two hands‚ one to hold the book "galeotto" that also serves as a bed of sin and another to support the biplane of the vate who flies over Vienna to launch " words".

giornaledellamusica.it (April 2018)

Nel primo atto il busto di una scultorea figura di donna coglie la bellezza e la sensualità femminile‚ verrà poi trafitto da lance nel passaggio al bellicoso secondo atto. Nel terzo e nel quarto atto un biplano fracassato‚ che allude alle spericolate imprese di guerra del vate‚ fa da cornice ai tentativi delle donne di riappropriarsi dei loro momenti di felicità spensierata. E un librone enorme fungerà da peccaminosa alcova alla fine del duetto d’amore e letto di morte per i due sfortunati amanti. Il secondo e il quarto atto sono invece “soffocati” da un muro di ferraglia‚ che richiama gli spalti del castello dei Malatesta‚ tra scale‚ ringhiere‚ balaustre‚ passaggi difficoltosi come dedali inestricabili da cui si affacciano numerosi cannoni‚ fumanti alla fine della battaglia. ///
In the first act the bust of a sculptural figure of a woman captures the beauty and sensuality of women‚ will then be pierced by spears in the passage to the warlike second act. In the third and fourth acts a smashed biplane‚ which alludes to the daring exploits of the vate‚ frames the attempts of women to regain their moments of carefree happiness. And a huge big book will act as a sinister alcove at the end of the love duet and death bed for the two unlucky lovers. The second and fourth acts are instead "suffocated" by a wall of scrap metal‚ which recalls the terraces of the Malatesta castle‚ including stairs‚ railings‚ balustrades‚ difficult passages as inextricable mists from which numerous cannons‚ smoking at the end of the battle‚ overlook.

Opera Click (April 2018)

La Clemenza di Tito‚ Opera Theatre St Louis

The set and costumes by Leslie Travers are visually stunning! Simple‚ spare. In the dim opening light a colossal . . . something . . . hovers over the entire stage. As light slowly grows we recognize it as a vast steely Roman eagle‚ wings spread‚ talons gripping on the left a bundle of spears‚ on the right an Olive Branch. Titus muses on these from time to time in his struggle to choose between punishment and mercy.

Broadway World (June 2017)

Leslie Travers’ set design is dominated by a huge‚ fierce eagle‚ constructed in several parts and raised and lowered on wires to suit the action‚ about which more later…The stage pictures were striking and apt. That magnificent eagle‚ merely glimpsed at first in partial lighting of legs and talons that made them seem abstract‚ suddenly becomes concretely visible with the initial entrance of Titus and the chorus accompanying it.

Jay Harvey Upstage (June 2017)

Set and costume designer Leslie Travers kept things in black and white‚ with handsome costumes; a giant American eagle‚ its head facing the olive branch in its right talons‚ rose and fell as required‚ for a simple but effective design.

St Louis Post Dispatch (June 2017)

The Marriage of Figaro‚ Opera Philadelphia

Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) is such a perfect amalgam of comedy and pathos that audiences will cheer even a flawed performance of it. It’s hard to get everything right‚ with ten complicated characters‚ an orchestra‚ and sets representing multiple rooms and gardens of a nobleman’s palace. That’s why it was such a rare treat to see the all-around excellence of this new production which has sets and costumes by Leslie Travers and direction by Stephen Lawless...
Massive sets portrayed the ornate exterior of a grand palazzo and its lavish rooms‚ and ingeniously revealed the corridors which connect them. Much of the action involved people skulking down those corridors and listening-in at doors.

DC Metro Theater Arts (May 2017)

Leslie Travers imposing moveable set design is a study of contrasts- marble walls and stately interior that eventually gives way to garish bas-relief exteriors and a grotesque stone garden. Meanwhile‚ Travers’ costumes look like Versailles couture of the first order‚ Burnish organza breeches‚ sequin studded court coats and The Countess’ boudoir lingerie‚ gauzy summer hoop dresses and ballroom gowns. They couldn’t have been more finely detailed if they were built by Adrian on the MGM lot.

Huffington Post (May 2017)

With sets and costumes by Leslie Travers‚ he presents an extravagantly ornate palace‚ staffed by servants in crimson livery and powdered wigs. This emphasizes the wealth and power of Count Almaviva more than any other production.

The sets prominently reveal corridors where servants skulk‚ and multiple doors where they peek in at the activities of their rulers. The doors provide many comic opportunities; they also remind me of Stephen Sondheim’s “Opening Doors” which hint at future opportunities.

Opera Critic (May 2017)

Visually‚ this Figaro also scores points‚ with beautiful scenery‚ lighting‚ and costumes (it keeps the period setting‚ which is my preference—the historical details work best that way). I particularly liked the opening image‚ a stone wall with sculpted portraits presumably of older members of the House of Almaviva—gray eminences‚ indeed.

Philadelphia Magazine (May 2017)

The first thing you see at the Academy of Music’s new co-production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (with Lyric Opera of Kansas City‚ San Diego Opera‚ and Pam Beach Opera) is a large set with cameo likenesses of Count and Countess Almaviva on a family tree along a palatial garden wall. Leslie Travers’ set is not only striking visually‚ but the wall transforms and move throughout the production‚ revealing closets to hide in‚ windows to jump out of‚ and a portico from which the audience can see who is at the door while the characters debate whether or not to open it.

Phindie.com (May 2017)

One advantage of Lawless’s current revisit is the possession of superbly attractive sets and costumes by Leslie Travers

Seen and Heard International (May 2017)

Twelfth Night‚ Royal Exchange Theatre

Jo Davies’s production places the action‚ in Leslie Travers’s design‚ on a sand-sprinkled stage‚ which has obvious relevance for the opening when Viola is washed up on the shore after the shipwreck but also produces a brilliant visual effect of a winding path where Malvolio discovers the letter that leads to his downfall just before the interval.

British Theatre Guide (April 2017)

Faith Omole’s shipwrecked Viola is flung‚ distraught and disorientated‚ on to the sand spit of Leslie Travers’s design‚ with its splintered planking‚ falling rain and turquoise sea. In her orange lifejacket‚ she’s strikingly suggestive of a 21st-century refugee.

The Times (April 2017)

The Marriage of Figaro‚ Opera Philadelphia/Lyric Opera Kansas

Major kudos go to Leslie Travers‚ whose richly detailed‚ character-defining costume designs were sumptuous‚ his regal set design crafty and versatile.

Kansas City Star (November 2016)

Billy Budd‚ Opera North

Phelan’s staging‚ on Leslie Travers clever two-level set that is as much decaying building as late 18th century man-o-war‚ brilliantly conveys the pecking order on the quarter-deck as well as the cramped conditions of the men‚ and the superb chorus is kept very busy all night.

The Herald Scotland (December 2016)

It’s impressive to behold‚ both realistic and fantastical‚ with curved surfaces sweeping down onto the stage and crooked edges creating ominous shadows. Seriously‚ kudos to Set and Costume Designer‚ Leslie Travers‚ he outdid himself here.

Leeds List (October 2016)

Don Carlo‚ Grange Park Opera

Jo Davies directs resourcefully and sensibly against Leslie Travers’ versatile set‚ in which brutal concrete walls are made to suggest prison‚ palace and plaza in turn. Period kitsch is held at bay: costuming is austerely black‚ with atmosphere created by flickering flame and candles.

The Telegraph (June 2016)

Pleasure‚ Opera North

The star of the evening‚ apart from Garrett‚ is the production design. Huge‚ squat letters spelling out the title of the opera form the acting and singing space‚ lit in changing colours to reflect the gaudy location and the flames of Hell. The horizontals gave Garrett shelves for toilet rolls and hand cleaner‚ the curves of the letters winding around a urinal and a basin – industrial‚ functional and startling.

Classical Source (May 2016)

Leslie Travers’ set is highly atmospheric‚ with glistening stringed curtains surrounding the stage‚ and huge letters standing in the centre that spell out ‘pleasure’ as they light up.

MusicOMH (May 2016)

I Puritani‚ Welsh National Opera

The most striking moment of the production‚ and by far its most memorable passage‚ is Arturo’s first official entrance as a Cavalier aristocrat (the scruffiness is part of the usual preludial dumb-crambo)‚ and Elvira’s switch from blue twin set‚ vintage 1970‚ to a flowing dress of the civil war time. Here something subtle and intriguing takes place. The flowing dress has already appeared while the twin set was onstage and singing; but soon the flowing dress is singing while the twin set looks on. Double casting? No‚ but a doppelganger‚ cunningly staged and designed (by Leslie Travers).

The Arts Desk (September 2015)

…Elvira‚ much earlier in proceedings than Bellini or Pepoli envisaged‚ is prone to psychotic episodes. And she’s stopped taking her tablets‚ so by the time designer Leslie Travers unleashes his brilliantly simple coup de théâtre she’s in a bit of a state.

What’s On Stage (September 2015)

Salome‚ Santa Fe Opera

Set in the early 20th century‚ the production is a headily‚ effectively Freudian take on the piece. Several scenes suggest spaces in the mind‚ like Jochanaan’s cistern‚ here a creepily arid‚ crumbling attic where he sits at a table‚ scribbling. …
Here was opera with vividness equal to the stunning landscape surrounding it.

The New York Times (August 2015)

Rebecca‚ Kneehigh

The real star of the show is Leslie Travers’ design‚ offering a space where house and beach meet and where past‚ present and future coil around each other like the smoke that eventually engulfs the house. Rice uses the space brilliantly‚ offering an image of Rebecca like a drowned mermaid‚ and turning Manderley into a rocky obstacle course and a place where the louche and the elegant‚ popular culture and snobbery‚ freedom and imprisonment‚ all co-exist.

The Guardian (November 2015)

Leslie Travers’s extraordinary set expresses a world where nothing is quite what it seems. Like something out of a Salvador Dalí painting‚ the ruins of a stately home (huge chandelier‚ peeling plasterwork‚ a grand broken staircase) merge into a sweep of rocks and the upside-down hull of a wrecked boat.

The Telegraph (May 2015)

The Marriage of Figaro‚ Opera North

Jo Davies’s interpretation‚ cunningly designed by Leslie Travers‚ has no ideological axe to grind in moving the drama to an early twentieth-century setting...
The net result is a Figaro of exceptional ensemble‚ rich in charm‚ humour and vitality: beautifully sung‚ sensitively staged. For pure enjoyment‚ what more can opera offer?

The Telegraph (January 2015)

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