(Photo credit: Curtain, Palais Garnier, Paris, France, 2009 by David Leventi)
New York City-based photographer David Leventi has two photographs, Curtain, Palais Garnier, Paris, France, 2009 and Romanian Antheneum, Bucharest, Romania, 2007, featured in the Center’s “Red” exhibition. Curtain, Palais Garnier, Paris, France, 2009 was awarded the Director’s Selection. Both photographs come from his most recent series, Bjoerling’s Larynx, which documents the intricate interiors of world-famous opera houses. Leventi’s photographs, through the use of a large-format view camera, capture the scrupulous architectural details that define these historic national landmarks. Each opera house becomes an allegory for the wealth of its respective nation.
On one level, Leventi’s documentation preserves the visual integrity of these luxurious interiors; while, on another level, the series is also deeply personal to Leventi himself:
The project is titled after Jussi Björling, a Swedish operatic tenor and arguably the best singer of the century – known for his technique, feeling and the range of his voice. Bjoerling debuted at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm and eventually became a principal at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. These two spaces – and the others that I have photographed thus far – are the spaces in which my grandfather, Anton Gutman, never got the chance to perform. Gutman was a cantor trained right after World War II by Helge Rosvaenge, a famous Danish operatic tenor who sang regularly with the State Operas in Berlin and Vienna. While Gutman was interned in a prisoner-of-war camp in the Soviet Union, he performed for prisoners and officers. Nearly a half-century later, I grew up listening to him sing while he walked around our living room. As the son of two architects, I experience an almost religious feeling walking into a grand space such as an opera house.
You can read the rest of Leventi’s artist statement by clicking [HERE].
(Photo credit: Romanian Antheneum, Bucharest, Romania, 2007 by David Leventi)
More of David’s work can be found at www.davidleventi.com