“Der Stein der Weisen” or “The Philosopher’s Stone” is an opera that Mozart wrote as a collaboration with many other composers. Frau Mozart describes the writing style as each actor writing his main part and then passing it around to Mozart who made little changes or orchestrations here and there. He is known to have authored around 30 minutes of original music entirely himself.
The story is a fantastic Asian Fantasy story, involving two warring gods, a kidnapped maiden, a boy over-laden with weapons who has to rescue her (Like Link in Zelda!) and a buffoon and his sexy wife who gets turned into a cat.
I chose to illustrate the photos in a way that evokes the styles of video games like Zelda and Final Fantasy, since the plots of those games are strikingly similar to the story of this opera. The genie in the opera brings a magic bird which sings for the most beautiful maiden who winds up kidnapped by the god of the sky. I based the genie off of Buddha.
In the climax, the hero accidentally kills the maiden after shooting her with an arrow while trying to rescue her. Happily is saved by the magic of the Philosopher’s stone which brings her back to life.
Here is a view of the corset the heroine is wearing.
I made a cat hat for the photos, as seen below, but it doesn’t make it into the final photos.
The hero of the story, Nadir, is costumed in bright orange and white. I made the shirt out of silk, and was going for an elvish sort of look.
The shirt has a design of piping. I made channels and ran some piping through them to make a cool design.
The hero also has Trapunto pants. I based the pants off of a character from the video game Magna Carta designed by Hyung-Tae Kim.
The pants feature a cross design. The pants are made out of bridal satin, and the back layer is linen. I drew the design on the pants with water erasable pen, then stitched around the design. Next I filled the channels with fiber-fill, the type you use in stuffed animals.
I also build a collared arm piece. It only covers one arm, which is a staple in costuming designed for Final Fantasy.
All the pieces combined to make Nadir look like a video game style hero.
My father also carved a horsebow for the hero, which I’m sorry never made it into the final shot, because it is so cool. I actually gave the model Zaden “Sunny” every weapon the character is given in the opera.
We shot the photos outside of Los Angeles on the way to Malibu through the hills.
Our female model was a no show, and so our friend Katie agreed to take off work to fill in!
The genie photos were taken in Seattle on a hill in Gasworks Park.
I guess that’s all for today, what do you think?
- Read more about the Seattle shoot here.
- Read more about the LA shoot here.
- There is a great recording of Der Stein der Weisen available for purchase as well if you are interested in rare fantasy opera. It’s one of my favorites.