Oct 4, 2017 | By Tess

Italian 3D printing company WASP has been working hard over the past few months to help realize the set design for the upcoming performances of Fra Diavolo at the Opera Theater in Rome. With just days until opening night, the stunning 3D printed set pieces are ready for the spotlight.

The opera, which is set to open on October 8, marks the first time in over a century that Fra Diavolo will be performed at the famous Opera Theater in Rome. The opéra comique was originally composed by France’s Daniel Auber and was performed in French and Italian through the middle of the 19th century.

Audiences on October 8 will not be seeing a strict recreation of the classic opera, and will doubtlessly be pleased to see a number of modern updates to the play: most notably its stunning 3D printed set design.

Since last April, WASP has been working closely with Rome’s Opera Theater and its troop to design and manufacture an eye-grabbing backdrop for Fra Diavolo. 

Opera Theater superintendent Carlo Fuortes commented on the collaboration, saying: “The story of theatrical performance has always been a story of inventions and experimentation of techniques and materials. Today, 3D printing is present in all design work but also in building elements in various productive areas. Here, for the first time, thanks to WASP’s commitment and work, it is employed to build the scenery of a lyric.”

The set pieces were 3D printed at WASP’s Massa Lombarda headquarters in Ravenna using the company’s large-scale DeltaWASP 3MT printer (with a build volume of 1 m diameter x 1 m height). White PLA material was used to produce the theatrical set designs, which enabled WASP and the theater to cut back significantly on costs.

“The plastic we normally use to print has a huge cost when used to produce the 1500 kg of the scenery,” explained Massimo Moretti, founder of WASP. “So we decided to turn to a cheaper material, one that, when the scenery will no longer be used, can be easily recycled, shredded, and reused for a new and different work.”

According to the company, the plastic backdrops had to be manufactured in 223 separate pieces to be assembled on the stage. This was done both to accommodate the 3D printer’s build volume and to make transportation of the set pieces easier. WASP reportedly used five 3D printers to produce the large number of set pieces and was able to get them printed in time.

As you can see in the photos, the 3D printed set pieces are notable for their curved and canted construction—a deliberate aesthetic which was used to capture the tone of the opera. “I always imagine every theatrical representation as something that is talking about us, and even if it is ancient, it turns to the sensitivity of today audience, with a story that touches our deepest notes,” commented Giorgio Barberio Corsetti, the opera’s director.

“To accomplish this characteristic irregular shape of the scenes, the collaboration of the WASP team was fundamental," Corsetti added. "In fact they committed so deeply to reach an extraordinary result."

If it wasn’t impressive enough for audiences to see the 3D printed set designs on stage, WASP will also be demonstrating its large-scale 3D printing technology at the Opera Theater. That is, WASP will be setting up its DeltaWASP 3MT Industrial 3D printer next to the theater’s entrance on October 8 to coincide with the opera’s opening night.

There, visitors will be able to watch the 3D printer produce a life-sized statue of the Fra Diavolo character.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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