The Gilded Stage: David Leventi’s photos of the world’s most opulent opera houses
When David Leventi was a kid, his grandfather, a Romanian cantor named Anton Gutman, would sing arias in the family’s Westchester house, swanning around the living room like it was the stage at La Scala. Gutman’s aspirations for operatic glory had been stymied in World War II, when he landed in a Russian POW camp, forced to perform for Red Army officers.
Leventi, a New York photographer, started snapping opera houses in 2007 as a tribute to his grandfather. Fittingly, he began with the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, a baroque fantasia dripping with more gold than Gringotts. Over the years, he’s noticed the dazzling intricacies that distinguish each space, like Marc Chagall’s sloping signature on his ceiling at the Paris Opera House or the 23-karat gold leaf flaking off the ceiling of the Met. He usually stands dead centre on the stage, assuming the place of the singer, and shoots with a wide-angle lens to capture a panoramic view. His huge images take on the perspective of a funhouse mirror, as if the space is surrounding the viewer—they’re as vast and majestic as the music that fills them.
To Saturday, June 27. FREE. Bau-Xi Photo, 324 Dundas St. W., 416-977-0400, bau-xiphoto.com.