Tag Archives: The Philosopher’s Stone

Mozart Reimagined – Der Stein der Weisen

4 Sep

Mozart Reimagined by Tyson Vick will feature photos illustrating an opera that Mozart contributed a large amount of music to called “Der Stein der Weisen”.

Mozart Reimagined features three photos by Tyson Vick illustrating the opera Der Stein der Weisen

Mozart Reimagined features three photos by Tyson Vick illustrating the opera Der Stein der Weisen

Mozart Reimagined showcases nearly 100 photos that bring to life Mozart’s operas through photography. I spent a decade building props and sets, meeting models and photographing across the country to showcase what Mozart’s music has meant to me. The book also features essays written about each opera from my own unique perspective. The book humorously points out plot-holes, gives insight into past and present performances, recites a little bit of History and overflows with my own passion for the music of Mozart.

Here’s an excerpt from the book which accompanies the Der Stein der Weisen pictures:

“The opera was made by the same company and all the same people who made Die Zauberflote. This was the play they put together before that famous masterpiece. Unlike Die Zauberflote, however, nearly every singing role’s music was composed by the person performing the role. The lead actor composed his own music, the lead antagonist composed his own, etc. Constanze Mozart goes on to say that her husband sat around with these friends while they wrote, looking over their music, adding passages here and there, adding bits of orchestration, etc. This means it is nearly impossible for scholars to deduce where Mozart music comes in, unless it is exclusively in his hand. The only pieces known for certain to be his are the two cat duets, where the buffoonish character Lubano sings with his cursed wife, Lubanara, and the Act Two finale which begins with the second cat duet and continues with around twenty minutes of music.
Der Stein der Weisen is one of my favorite texts that I have come across in an opera. While it won’t necessarily suit everyone’s tastes, the mixture of comedy, action, adventuring heroes, dangerous gods, horrifying monsters, vast, diverse locations – and duets with cats – makes it special to me. Having grown up with a passion for video games such as The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy it is delightful to find an opera that is essentially one of those games set to music. The hero of Der Stein der Weisen, Nadir, like every video game character, is even given a vast array of weapons during the course of the play, leading one to question; where on earth he is storing them all!?! Even the original aesthetic of the opera was similar to modern video games, blending the Eastern costume and mythology with the West and creating a fantastical hybrid fairy tale.”

Der Stein der Weisen Act 1. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield.

Der Stein der Weisen Act 1. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield.

Talented musician Sunny Brains models as the hero, Nadir. Watch one of his music videos here.

You can also see behind-the-scenes photos and close-up costume shots here, here and here.

I’m going to be giving you a preview of photos from every chapter of Mozart Reimagined over the next month, and then it will be time for pre-orders. I will be launching pre-orders on Kickstarter on September 14th, 2015! Until then, I wanted to give you a glimpse of some of the photos and excerpts from the book so you can see what’s in store! Subscribe to the blog for every update, or check back on September 14th for the launch of the book.

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Der Stein der Weisen (The Philosopher’s Stone) – Photos and Costumes

18 Apr

“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.

Der Stein der Weisen Title. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Jadi Stuart. Model: Sunny Brains Berro.

Der Stein der Weisen Title. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Jadi Stuart. Model: Sunny Brains Berro.

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.

Der Stein der Weisen Act 1. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield. Models: Sierra Rae, Meilyn Saychow, Kolya Cain

Der Stein der Weisen Act 1. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Lizzie Hatfield. Models: Sierra Rae, Meilyn Saychow, Kolya Cain

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.

Der Stein der Weisen Act 2. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Jadi Stuart. Models: Sunny Brains Berro, Katie Gibson

Der Stein der Weisen Act 2. Photo by Tyson Vick. Hair & Make-up by Jadi Stuart. Models: Sunny Brains Berro, Katie Gibson

Here is a view of the corset the heroine is wearing.

Corset for Der Stein der Weisen

Corset for Der Stein der Weisen

I made a cat hat for the photos, as seen below, but it doesn’t make it into the final photos.

Nadir's Hat, Der Stein der Weisen

Cat Hat!

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.

Orange shot silk shirt made for Nadir with piping.

The shirt has a design of piping. I made channels and ran some piping through them to make a cool design.

A little more detail on Nadir’s silk shirt.

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 image I based Nadir’s trapunto pants comes from a book called Oxide 2 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.

A view of the trapunto pants.

I also build a collared arm piece. It only covers one arm, which is a staple in costuming designed for Final Fantasy.

White arm guard for Nadir’s costume.

All the pieces combined to make Nadir look like a video game style hero.

The armpiece and shirt together are meant to look like something out of a Japanese video game, like Final Fantasy.

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.

Here I am photographing a "Der Stein Der Weisen" picture. The costumes were influenced by video games like Final Fantasy and Magna Carta.

Here I am photographing a “Der Stein Der Weisen” picture. The costumes were influenced by video games like Final Fantasy and Magna Carta.

We shot the photos outside of Los Angeles on the way to Malibu through the hills.

Jadi prepares Katie's hair for the shoot.

Jadi prepares Katie’s hair for the shoot.

Our female model was a no show, and so our friend Katie agreed to take off work to fill in!

Zaden.

Zaden Sunny Brains

 

The genie photos were taken in Seattle on a hill in Gasworks Park.

Nikolai, Sierra and Meilyn Saychow hang out while I adjust fabrics.

Nikolai, Sierra and Meilyn Saychow hang out while I adjust fabrics.

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.

One Delightful Day – Sept. 10th, The Philosopher’s Stone

13 Sep

This weekend, Lizzie and I traveled to Seattle to work with Dragonfly Designs by Alisa on some Steampunk photos, and also to work with some beautiful models for my illustrations of Mozart’s “Der Stein der Weisen” (The Philosopher’s Stone”.

Lizzie and I at Fort Casey, during our trip to Seattle.

“The Philosopher’s Stone” is an opera written in collaboration by Mozart, Shikaneder (Who wrote The Magic Flute) and their friends (who also starred in the opera). The opera is essentially the video game Final Fantasy set to music. Set in a fantastical Oriental land, a Genie descends upon what I can only describe as a Hippie Commune with a magical bird. The bird will sing for the most virtuous maiden, and so all the ladies fight over it. However, when the bird sings for the hero’s girlfriend, the god of the Sky carries her off and the hero has to go on a quest to get her back.

Nikolai, Sierra and Meilyn Saychow hang out while I adjust fabrics.

The models wore costumes that I made with my new helper Catey Lockhart. We dip dyed the ladies dresses, and made bows out of brocade. The Genie appears in a costume based off a statue of Siddhartha and Maitreya Buddha that I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The bird cage is decorated in Lucite flowers.

To illustrate the opera Der Stein der Weisen, the models are dressed as the Genie, who descends from the sky with a magic bird, and the Maidens, who fight over who gets to keep the bird.

We photographed on top of a hill at Gasworks Park in Seattle — we were facing away from the factory, if you were worried about conflicting themes. At one point a little girl wandered away from her father and up the hill to see the “Costume People”. She decided that she liked Costume People, and had her picture taken with the girls, and then wandered off.

A little girl saw us on the hill, and wanted to go meet the “Costume People”.

The previous days were used to shoot Steampunk photos. I will share more about that with you when Alisa blogs about it! But until then, here’s an outtake that Lizzie took of me shooting the Steampunk Photos:

That’s me shooting with Jadi and Christopher in costumes by Dragonfly Designs by Alisa for our upcoming photos!

See you all again soon!