Adolphe Appia

Adolphe Appia (born 1 September 1862 in Geneva; died 29 February 1928 in Nyon), son of Red Cross co-founder Louis Appia, was a Swiss architect and theorist of stage lighting and décor. Appia is best known for his many scenic designs for Wagner’s operas. He 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. Through the use of control of light intensity, colour and manipulation, Appia created a new perspective of scene design and stage lighting.

Associated Content Useful article on Adolphe Appia and Edward Gordon Craig’s work in theatre stage design.

City College Manchester Excellent lecture discussing Adolphe Appia, Edward Gordon Craig and symbolism in early 20th century theatre.

Google Images Useful photographs of Adolphe Appia, plus many of his stage design illustrations for the theatre.

Monsalvat: The Parsifal Pages Excellent article (with images) on Adolphe Appia’s designs for two productions – The Parsifal and the Ring.

The Compulite-Danor Stage Lighting Musuem Concise record of Adolphe Appia’s aims in achieving his ideas in stage lighting and set design. Brief biographies of Adolphe Appia and other lighting practitioners such as Edward Gordon Craig.

University of Warwick Brief discussion about Adolphe Appia.

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