I was very excited about the prospect of accompanying the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra (OPL) on a trip to Paris where they were to perform Verdi’s Rigoletto under the direction of Gustavo Gimeno and a string of brilliant opera singers.
I was asked to document this very special performance at one of the most renowned venues in Europe, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, however I had a bit of a disapoointment shortly before leaving for Paris. It turned out that the theater’s manager of press and communication strictly forbode taking pictures during the performance. Apparently it is the policy of the theater and that was it. I was told I could maybe take a couple of shots at the very end during the applause and so I was given a seat at the back of the hall.
When we arrived at the theater, our press and communication officer and me went straight to talk to the house manager to arrange back stage passes and other things. During the conversation I asked again about the possibility of taking pictures during the performance and was told exactly what I already knew. However, I pointed out that my Sony mirrorless cameras are capable of shooting 100% silently. The manager said to me “yeap but you know cameras are never truly silent and it is our policy not to disturb the audience in any way”.
At that point I said I could demonstrate my claim and she agreed to it, so I took my Sony a9 out and took a series of pictures in the office in silent mode, then showed them to the manager and asked, did you hear anything? She was pretty impressed and said “well I have to admit this is the first time we are allowing this during a performance, but you can take pictures from your seat at the back of the hall”
Our own press officer and me could not believe our luck. I consequently felt completely free to move around and document the rehearsals and the performance with total confidence I was not disturbing anybody. It was a very liberating experience and I recall several moments when people saw me taking pictures and asked “are you taking pictures or just checking the light? I could not hear anything”
Technology is not what makes great photographs, however, in some cases it really helps eliminating some barriers, like the sound barrier that has plagued photographers for so long. I am so happy to use my Sony mirrorless cameras, the a9 and the a7R III, with three outstanding Sony lenses that cover the focal length from 12mm to 200mm.
I leave you with a series of images I took that special day at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
All the best!