Thomas C. Hase has a thing for Cincinnati. He must, for he has designed the lighting for 44 of the 48 productions at the Cincinnati Opera over the past 11 summer seasons, starting in 1997. He has just signed on for the 2008 season, which will be the company's 88th summer festival, as well as Cincinnati Opera's new production of Wagner's Die Meistersinger in 2010, and discussions are already underway for the 2009 and 2010 seasons too. Last summer his Cosi Fan Tutti got rave reviews in the local paper, The Cincinnati Enquirer: “Moods change via stunning ‘Technicolor’ lighting designed by Thomas C. Hase.” No wonder he keeps going back.
His repertory rig reflects a strong European influence, as Hase worked at a state theatre in Germany for a number of years, and includes 12 Arri 5kW Fresnels with Wybron Coloram scrollers; Strand Sirio HMI fixtures in 2.5kW, 4kW, and 6kW, all with Colorams; four Inno-Four HMI fixtures by Lighting Innovation from Austria; and four Robert Juliat 2.5kW HMI profiles. Automated units include High End Systems Studio Spots, Martin MAC 500 and 600 fixtures, Meteor Lights Ellipscan moving-mirror units, and Meteor Puppeteer moving-yoke units. “It is easier to move a few large sources than many smaller ones,” he says, noting that there are usually just eight hours to focus each opera.
Over the years, Hase has lit a wide range of productions in Cincinnati. Here he comments on scenes from just a few!
Nixon In China, 2007: “The lighting is very stylized for the Peking Opera scene, with strong sources to pick the action out of an environment enveloped in red. The starbursts on the wall and floor are templates from my custom gobo collection made by Apollo for Chicago Spotlight. The mini-strips in front of Nixon reinforce that he is at the opera.”
The Maids, 2004: “The Maids was part of a double bill with The Emperor of Atlantis, a concentration camp opera in which the upper room on the set looked like the Oval Office. During the scene change, they removed panels to reveal the modern architecture of a house that is all windows. The light comes into the stark environment through the windows.”
Tales Of Hoffman, 2006: “The idea for the lighting in the final scene was to reinforce that it was in a theatre after going through an entire adventure that conjures the dreams of a Hoffman environment through the heavy use of color.”
L'Etoile, 2006: “This is a very playful, fantasy opera where the lighting for each scene juxtaposes a primary color — such as a very strong yellow — and a tertiary color, opposing blocks of strong color against each other.”