16 Facts About Adolphe Appia


Adolphe Appia, son of Red Cross co-founder Louis Appia, was a Swiss architect and theorist of stage lighting and decor.


Adolphe Appia was raised in Geneva, Switzerland, in a "strictly Calvinistic home".


Adolphe Appia attended boarding school at the College de Vevey starting in 1873 at the age of 11, where he remained until 1879.


Adolphe Appia saw his first professional theatre production at the age of 16, when he attended a production of Charles Gounod's Faust.


Adolphe Appia studied music at the Leipzig Conservatory and at a music school in Dresden.


Adolphe Appia rejected painted two-dimensional sets for three-dimensional "living" sets because he believed that shade was as necessary as light to form a connection between the actor and the setting of the performance in time and space.


The central principle underpinning much of Adolphe Appia's work is that artistic unity is the primary function of the director and the designer.


Adolphe Appia maintained that two dimensional set painting and the performance dynamics it created, was the major cause of production disunity in his time.


Adolphe Appia advocated three elements as fundamental to creating a unified and effective mise-en-scene:.


Adolphe Appia saw light, space and the human body as malleable commodities which should be integrated to create a unified mise-en-scene.


Adolphe Appia advocated synchronicity of sound, light and movement in his productions of Wagner's operas and he tried to integrate corps of actors with the rhythms and moods of the music.


Ultimately however, Adolphe Appia considered light as the primary element which fused together all aspects of a production and he consistently attempted to unify musical and movement elements of the text and score to the more mystical and symbolic aspects of light.


Adolphe Appia often tried to have actors, singers and dancers start with a strong symbolic gesture or movement and end with another strong symbolic pose or gesture.


Ultimately, Adolphe Appia sought to unify stage movement and the use of space, stage rhythm and the mise-en-scene.


Adolphe Appia was one of the first designers to understand the potential of stage lighting to do more than merely illuminate actors and painted scenery.


See the articles about Adolphe Appia written by Prince Serge Wolkonsky.