From 1990 to 2014, graphic designer Lex Reitsma (1958) created the visual identity for Dutch National Opera. The Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka (1938-2012) designed the costumes for Wagner's famous cycle of four epic operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen, performed by Dutch National Opera from 1997-2014.
Dutch National Ballet and De Nederlandse Opera began operating under the name Dutch National Opera & Ballet this year, from the company's home base at National Opera & Ballet, the former Amsterdam Music Theatre. The merger of these Amsterdam cultural institutions also means that after 23 years, Lex Reitsma's celebrated series of posters and program designs for Dutch National Opera, comes to an end. Reitsma also works as a documentary filmmaker, making films about graphic designer Jan Bons (2008), Rietveld's Chair (2011), The Style of the Stedelijk (2012) and The Gijs+Emmy Spectacle (2014). The exhibition includes the screening of two films made especially by Lex Reitsma for the occasion. One traces the collaboration between Pierre Audi and Eiko Ishioka, the other illuminates his own work for Dutch National Opera. This video provides a preview of the two films.
One of the most beloved and finest of Dutch National Opera productions was Wagner's opera Der Ring des Nibelungen. Under the stage direction of Pierre Audi, this epic tetralogy culminated in February last year. George Tsypin created an décor, while the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra delivered performances under the baton of conductor Hartmut Haenchen. Those who saw Der Ring will undoubtedly remember the dazzling costumes created for the production by Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka. This exhibition presents a selection of her most breathtaking costumes, accompanied by sketches and alongside posters designed by Ishioka. In the world of Japanese graphic design, Eiko Ishioka was the only woman at the top.
The exhibition 'Opera at the Stedelijk: Lex Reitsma + Eiko Ishioka' is on display from 20 June - 19 October 2014.