Joan Guillen

Set and Costume Designer

“The pure fantasy of Cinderella’s plot invited me to immediately abandon the temptation to reflect in my designs a concrete historical epoch and locale,” says the Spanish designer. “From this premise, the set designer crossed – much as Angelina does in the opera – the realism/reality door and felt free to design sets and costumes full of impossible elements and vivid colors.” Guillén’s designs for Joan Font’s Rossini productions have been seen throughout America and Europe, most recently Washington and Los Angeles (Cinderella), Valencia and Houston (The Italian Girl in Algiers), and Toronto, Barcelona and Bordeaux (The Barber of Seville). “I share with Joan Font the very same conception of theater, understood as an imaginative work that aspires to seduce the audience with the magic of ‘normal’ elements manipulated poetically. As a result, in our more than 20 years of joint collaboration, the director-set designer relationship has been thrilling as well as easy.” Guillén is a satirical cartoonist whose work has appeared in numerous prestigious Spanish publications and on Spanish television. A member of the Els Comediants theater group, he is an instructor at the Theater Institute’s School of Dramatic Art (Barcelona) and leads courses, conferences, and lectures at universities worldwide. He won the 1999 gold medal in costume design at the Prague Quadrennial for Theater Architecture and Set Design. His most important recent nonoperatic projects include Two Worlds, Two Views (Beijing, Perelada Festival), Maravillas de Cervantes (Madrid’s National Classical Theater Company), and Colors (Perelada Festival). Guillén, who contributes to the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia, received the Award of the City of Barcelona in 1983 and 1985 for journalism.

Lyric Opera debut: La Cenerentola (2015|16)

Last updated: October 4, 2015