Best Set Design - 2006
John Conklin for La Fanciulla del West
The opera world's original spaghetti Western made for the season's best-realized theatrical spectacle, as the Florida Grand Opera took on Puccini's late masterpiece and unveiled sets by John Conklin that went a long way to explain why opera is called grand. Big, intelligent, and full of surprises even for the most jaded opera fans, the whole affair looked and moved at a furious gallop in a first-rate production that recalled the company's glory days and frankly let us look ahead with optimism to the move next fall to the spiffy new Miami Performing Arts Center. Like the unforgettable production of Paul Bunyan, this Fanciulla also reminded us that Florida Grand Opera's partnership with New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, which among other things means taking advantage of spectacular ready-made sets, translates into good news for lovers of music theater in South Florida.