David Hockney recognised for set designs

David Hockney has received a San Francisco Opera (SFO) Medal in recognition of his work for the company. The British artist picked up the medal during a recent performance of Turandot, which he designed for SFO in 1993.

Hockney is best known for his paintings such as A Bigger Splash and American Collectors, as well as his more recent digital work. His first opera production was The Rake’s Progress in 1975 for Glyndebourne festival. Other designs include Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Glyndebourne, 1978) and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (Los Angeles Opera, 1981). All three productions have appeared on SFO’s stage.

Hockney's design for Turandot © Corey Weaver
Hockney’s design for Turandot © Corey Weaver

SFO general director Matthew Shilvock, who presented the medal, commented: “Since 1975, David Hockney has been a powerful force in advancing opera as an art form. His productions are bold expressions of archetypal emotions, deeply rooted in a strong sense of spatial resonance and scale.

“His productions take us – audiences and artists alike – on journeys that allow us to see our world more clearly. He finds rhythm in colour and design, and creates portals that we enter with thrilling excitement.”

Inaugurated in 1970, past SFO Medal recipients include soprano Renée Fleming, conductor Nicola Luisotti, composer John Adams and tenor Plácido Domingo.