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Landmark Productions and
Wide Open Opera



Donnacha Dennehy & Enda Walsh

Following the sensational success of their first opera, The Last Hotel, Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh join forces once again on an explosive new production.

One of Ireland’s leading actors, Aaron Monaghan, plays the second violinist.  He is joined by singers Máire Flavin, Sharon Carty and Benedict Nelson. Ryan McAdams conducts the 16-strong Chorus of Wide Open Opera, and Crash Ensemble, the group founded by Dennehy and described by the New York Times as ‘the Irish new-music band that plays with the energy and spirit of a rock group’.

‘exhilarating blend of opera,
theatre and film … extraordinary … thrilling’
- The Guardian

From The Second Violinist website.


The Process

Set designer Jamie Vartan’s designs included a large screen of some sort underneath a raised forest. Initially we all worked off the assumption that the screen would be rear projection.

However, it turned out that the forest floor would need supports that would end up breaking the projection surface into three equal sections with visible pillars in between. We ended up going with an LED video wall, which not only solved this problem (by hiding the supports) but was a glorious thing that very much matched the intensity of the piece.

LED video walls are extremely bright when you want them to be, have great colour reproduction and since they are actually emitting light, their physicality helps when they are so much part of a set. They offer perfect contrast since black on an LED wall is the absense of light. They also receive light surprisingly well, due to their diffuse surface.

The Second Violinist had video content on screen for almost the entire length of the show. The video wall had a number of purposes:

Provide a window into the content, social media and games that Matthew consumed on his various devices.

Share text conversations Matthew was having on his phone; display incoming text messages and his replies; give the audience glimpses of the photographs Matthew takes and has taken with his phone.

Communicate a key part of the narrative through selfie video taken on the victims phone, and through cinematic flashbacks.

Violent video game - clip

Poetic text drifting into a conversation

For The Second Violinist I shot, generated and sourced a variety of material - super slow tracking, high framerate shots of trees, a 1 day interior shoot of the murder scene, still photography etc.

From low-tech - two iPhones taped together for simultaneous selfie and subject shooting!) to high-tech - motorised sliders and a 4k Ursa camera.

I developed a custom text messaging layout and rendering solution for all of the text messaging - it allowed the text to be re-styled and re-timed quickly and supported slicing and exporting to cueing software Qlab.