• PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – THE MASK

Leanne Rolton from WYSIWYG 3D wrote a fascinating case study on the mask from the recently performed The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. First performed in 1986, it has become the longest-running show in musical history and played at the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour stage in a dazzling new production.

The entertainment industry has faced some of the toughest COVID restrictions over the last 2 years and Phantom of the Opera is no exception. Changing production schedules and the availability of cast meant the costume department of Opera Australia were facing an extremely tight deadline. Traditional methods of manufacturing a mask would have taken too long and wouldn’t guarantee a comfortable mask. Multiple masks were required and needed to survive the rigors of both rehearsals and performances.

3D Scanning and 3D Printing offered the costume department a streamlined solution – changes could be made digitally and 3D printed fast. This was done using a combination of scanning technologies perfect for accuracy, detail, and portability. The Phantom Mask was scanned using the arm-based scanner whilst the portable handheld scanners were used to 3D Scan Josh Robson and understudy Raphael Wong. Our design and entertainment specialist customised the mask to suit each of the singer’s unique facial structures but also allowed room in the mask for movement and comfort.

Within days the mask and lead singers were 3D scanned, changes made digitally to the mask to suit the individual singer and sent to the inhouse print team. The prototypes were hand-delivered to Opera Australia ready for testing during weekend rehearsals. Additional design changes were made following rehearsals including reducing the weight and addressing fitment issues ready for performances.

Multiple copies were printed in MJF and finished by sanding smooth and primed ready for the final coat of paint. MJF was chosen due to its durability and is suitable for outside performances. The costume team was pleasantly surprised at the finish of the rehearsal mask.  Although the mask is a major component of the musical it meant the team could focus their attention on other aspects of the costumes. The only thing the team needed to add was the finishing touches saving them precious time.

Images courtesy of WYSIWG 3D & Opera Australia

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