David Leventi photographs the interiors of world famous opera houses, capturing the ornate design of the architecture found inside. Using 4×5″ and 8×10″ Arca-Swiss cameras, Leventi captures each opera house from the vantage of an operatic singer, photographing the space from the very center of the stage.
“The opera houses in “Opera” stand as symbols of their nations’ wealth and grandeur, their dedication to the promotion of the arts and to bringing communities together. They are spaces with history – architecture like the National Theater, Prague State Opera, and Estates Theater in Prague or the Hungarian State Theater in Budapest that were universally recognized as being so powerful they were left standing through wars, or – like Dresden’s Semperoper and Vienna’s Wiener Staatsoper – which, though bombed, were rebuilt as symbols of their nations’ perseverance. They include a Guinness Book of World Records roundup of superlatives like The Metropolitan Opera in New York – unrivaled in size, and The Real Teatro di San Carlo in Naples – the oldest continually active opera house. There are theaters such as The Palais Garnier in Paris, with a ceiling that served as the canvas for controversial artist Marc Chagall and a chandelier that – after it fell in 1896 – served as the inspiration for The Phantom of the Opera. They are houses like La Scala in Milan that have resounded with the music of Verdi, Rossini, and Bellini, or The Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, where works by Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov premiered. They are architectural statements such as Teatro Amazonas – erected in the middle of the jungle from materials imported from across the Atlantic – built to assert Manaus, Brazil in South America as a cultural center rivaling those in Europe.”