Sean Evans makes film and art, and we’re incredibly excited to have worked with him this month, filming a live performance of Schoenberg’s “Erwartung” in Times Square.
Sean, alongside Roger Waters, co-founder and principal songwriter of Pink Floyd, recently co-wrote and co-directed The Wall, a concert film that goes well beyond the stage telling an epic and personal story based on the band’s groundbreaking concept album. “It’s a good collaboration. [Roger and I] compliment each other well. Neither of us are afraid of big ideas. I am very proud of the work we’ve done,” Sean said of the working relationship between the two directors. Adding, “It’s tricky to describe the collaboration really, I don’t think about it those terms usually, I don’t think he does either, we just get on with making things. We have long talks about them and then get on with it!”
This time around Sean was tasked with directing a live performance of “Erwartung,” a complex, one-act operatic production reinvented for 2015 by Robin Rhode; and in one of New York’s chaotic locations, no less. The job was also produced by our very own Head of Production and veteran Producer; Nina Warner, and saw us utilizing five cameras to get the job done right.
As the New York Times noted in its review, Schoenberg originally intended “Erwartung” to stretch a single second of “maximum spiritual excitement” to half an hour, which has been said to have hallucinatory intensity. The performance itself revolves around a very intense piece of music about the loss of, and the searching for, a loved one. “The original piece was set in a forest, and here it was set in Times Square, which Robin described as being the perfect modern setting for it,” Sean detailed. “The set was design by Robin as well, an oval shape consisting on hundreds of his drawings of ovals, [it was] very striking. The set was all black and white and the costumes were all black, white and red.”
So what was it like to film the first ever live opera in Times Square, you ask? The answer is, “great fun!” according to Sean. “We had our production very well sorted prior to the day, so the shooting itself was very enjoyable. The performance itself was very successful, and the location was superb. Very happy to have been asked to shoot in such an iconic spot. The changing light from all the billboards looked amazing on the performers, in the end we decided not to add any additional light on them, that anything we added would take away from the location.”
We’re utterly thrilled to have worked alongside Sean on this landmark production, and look forward to collaborating on more impassioned and creative work in the future.