Professor Designs Opera Productions in Italy

production of Don Giovanni in Italy
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Tom Burch designed two opera productions for La Musica Lirica.

Tom Burch, associate professor of scenic design in the Department of Theatre, has just returned from six weeks in Italy, where he designed two opera productions for La Musica Lirica, an intensive opera training program for young professional singers. Premiering first in the town of Novafeltria, each production traveled to additional locations in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

Burch served as lead designer for Mozart’s Don Giovanni and co-designer for Il trionfo dell'onore, an 18th-century opera by composer Alessandro Scarlatti. Because each production toured and was mounted in spaces that ranged from “small jewel box opera houses built in the 1800s” to “open public spaces,” Burch said, his designs had to be emblematic and simple.

Known locally for his exceptional stage designs for productions at UNC Charlotte and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Burch had not designed for opera prior to this summer. “It’s fun to step into something else for a while,” he said.

This fall, Burch is mounting The Caligari Project for the Department of Theatre, a puppet production that reimagines the 1921 German Expressionist film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The puppets, designed by Burch, will be constructed with the students in his puppetry class. In addition, he has current and upcoming projects with Charlotte Conservatory Theatre, Raleigh's Burning Coal Theatre, and Orlando Repertory Theatre.

groundplan for Don Giovanni set design   

sketch for Don Giovanni

Burch's groundplan and sketch for the set for Don Giovanni.

Don Giovanni production

A production of Don Giovanni at Novafeltria, Italy.

production of Il trionfo d'amore

A production of Il trionfo dell'onore, which Burch co-designed.