Aug 9, 2017 | By Benedict

WASP, the Italian 3D printing specialist behind the DeltaWASP line of 3D printers, has collaborated with Rome’s Opera Theater to make 3D printed set design pieces for Fra Diavolo, an opera by Daniel Auber. The production will open on October 8, 2017.

When you open up a press release from Italian 3D printer company WASP, you never know what you’re going to get. It could be news about the company’s 12-meter-tall BigDelta 3D printer or the 3D printed eco village it is building; it could be about innovative 3D printed medical devices from WASPmedical; it could even be about WASP’s involvement in theater production.

That’s right: the latest from WASP concerns its role in an upcoming three-act opera at the Opera Theater in Rome, a 1,600-seater opera house that first opened its doors in 1880. The Italian 3D printing specialist will be producing stage design for Daniel Auber’s Fra Diavolo, directed by Giorgio Barberio Corsetti and conducted by Rory McDonald, that will open this October.

Loosely based on the life of the Itrani guerrilla leader Michele Penza, Fra Diavolo was first performed in 1830—long before the advent of additive manufacturing—and was composer Daniel Auber’s most successful production.

And the comic opera is now set for a futuristic revamp thanks to the 3D printing expertise of WASP.

When contacted by the theater, WASP immediately accepted the challenge of producing 3D printed set design for the opera, and spent around three months (April until July) making the various bits and pieces.

“The venture started when the scenographer gave WASP a 3D printed model of two deformed historic buildings, two large facades with windows and terraces, similar to a Dalí picture,” WASP explains. “The deformed perception of reality is a central element of the work, which necessarily reflects also in its scenographic structure.”

Giorgio Barberio Corsetti’s vision of the 3D printed set design was supported in full by Opera Theater superintendent Carlo Fuortes, whom WASP says is “deeply confident” about the use of additive manufacturing in theater.

But WASP needed more than just confidence to complete their challenge, which required them to—if you will—print-a-lotti. The two main 3D printed stage pieces had to be divided into 223 pieces, so that they could be printed on a DeltaWASP 3MT 3D printer, whose print volume is 1 meter by 1 meter (diameter).

White PLA was used to print the parts, and a total of five 3D printers were put in operation for the project. (It is not yet clear whether the finished “deformed buildings” will be white, or whether they will be painted at a later stage.)

“The biggest challenge was not to [miss] the deadline,” WASP says. “Thanks to good work planning and to the speed of the WASP machines, the result came without any special problems at the set deadline: in mid-July the warehouse floor was completely filled with pieces of the scenography, ready to be sent to Rome.”

Once they reached their destination, the individual 3D printed parts were assembled at the Opera Theater and fixed onto a wooden carrying structure. Although there were a few inaccuracies in some of the pieces, WASP and the theater crew are reportedly very happy with the outcome.

“It was a test, an experiment, and a successful achievement that could pave the way for new future collaboration between theater and [the] 3D printing industry,” WASP says.

We hope they’re right. And on this evidence, we think they might be.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Joe D wrote at 8/15/2017 7:01:53 PM:

I just re-read the article. I am not clear if the 3D printer was used for the actual set, or simply the models. Sight & Sound Theatres uses their 3D printers for models.

Joe D wrote at 8/15/2017 6:44:07 PM:

Sight & Sound Theatre (in Strasburg PA and Branson MA, USA) has been using the gypsum-based 3d printing of models, and foam cutting for some sets, many years now. I think the main thing that has kept this technology from being very widely utilized, is that the artist who designs the sets, has to be very skilled at doing it with 3D modeling software. Or at least, some staff who works very closely with the designer. For most theaters it is just not worth the money and hassle. Sight & Sound is unusual, in that their very large scale biblical dramas are staged on a VERY large stage space. This increases the complexity of the whole design and build process. So, designing on the computer is really a major benefit for many of the steps necessary to build a show.

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