Terry Gilliam on directing Berlioz opera

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Terry Gilliam on directing Berlioz opera
By Katharina Rabillon
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The legendary director talks opera, movies and the artistic life

Terry Gilliam's second Berlioz opera at the Opera Bastille has much in common with his films such as "Brazil" where he creates unique dreamscapes and universes.

​The iconic film director, screenwriter, comedian and animator gives us an insight into his vision:

​"On films I’m always there with the camera very close to the action. Here, I’m working with Leah Hausman who is my co-director who really has taught me everything, the little bit I know about opera, she taught me."

"She is out there working with the singers on stage, I’m sitting back and observing it, something I can’t do on film because I’m in the middle of the action all the time."

He says the hardest part on films is that they don't have much time to rehearse: " we just go out and shoot and make the moment take place while the camera is running. Here there is a couple of month rehearsal maybe which I find really difficult to get used to. The rhythms are different for me."

But it's not all about the singing: ​"You need good actors too. It’s really important because otherwise the characters don’t come to life and we try to stop them singing out to the public, we try to keep them in the scene. If you are in love concentrate on the person you are in love with don’t say: Hi audience Hi, love me. No. Make him love you."

And to be a great artist?: "You have got to have passion, you have got to have dreams, you have got to have resilience, be able to control things, objects. That’s what I think art is about, the conflict between kind of control an organization and fantasy. If those two things work right you can make explosions. And you are fighting with yourself all the time doing art because you got to be your worst critic if you are going to be any good. You hate what you do one minute and then you love it the next minute."

"Everything I do movies, opera, I hate it as much as I enjoy it. It is a very fine line."

So what is next for Gilliam?

"At the moment I don’t have any plans. I have no plans in my life at the moment basically, because when you finish something the world collapses. When you are working there is a world that you are creating and it exists and that dominates your life. When it’s finished, it’s like the sets, all disappears, the lighting goes, everything and you're just in a black hole, kind of like the room we are sitting in at the moment."

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