The Masquerade set, from various ALW versions. Traditionally the ball would take place inside the auditorium, where the seats had been removed to create a giant dance floor. But the entrance and mingling in the staircase was just as important.
1. The Palais Garnier staircase, seen from above.
2. Ditto, seen from the side in the middle of the stairs. This is the angle Maria Bjørnson and Hal Prince chose for the original stage production.
3. The Bjørnson version, as seen in Denmark. A corner of the staircase give us a slight side view, the rest is filled out with costumes, drapes and the “black box” set. Red Death walks down this staircase.
4. The Bjørnson version, as seen in Las Vegas. Slightly different railings, with ornamental scrolls instead of the vertical “columns”. Also more fill-ins between the steps of the stairs, and a more golden statue. But in general the same.
5. Unlike other productions, the Vegas version didn’t have an intermission and the transaction from rooftop to masked ball was the Garnier facade and fireworks - as seen in this set model.
6. The movie version. Loosely based on the Garnier one, but only one level. Where the Garnier one have “bridges” crossing the lower staircase, the movie one turns backwards and leads to an imaginary second floor. There’s also a balcony at the top of the staircase instead of a door.
7. The Hungarian staircase. In large copying the Garnier one, but from a frontal view instead of the side view Bjørnson choose. Which as such is impossible, as the visitors of the opera never see the staircase from this angle, but ah well. Wish I had a better photo of it, cause it’s quite beautiful.
8. The Polish one. Another staying fairly close to the Garnier one, and choosing a frontal view instead of Bjørnson’s side view. The big difference is the back set, which has three large arches with red curtains (of which Red Death comes out from the larger middle one), and with large roundels in between.
9. The restaged UK tour set. No staircase here, as they’ve set the Masquerade ball in the
(I think) Foyer de la Danse instead of the grand staircase. The foyer was a popular mingling place after performances, where the performers could throw balls and flirt with selected (read: rich) patrons. Grand Salon. For this reason Red Death walks straight in instead of descending.
10. Palais Garnier’s Grand Salon.
ETA: I forgot to add the RAH version to this photoset. Basically it was a projection of the Grand Staircase from Garnier, shot up towards the ceiling, at the upper half, and with a back stair and two side stairs at the actual stage. A screen wall with arches was behind these stairs, and Red Death came out from the middle one.
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