Picture of the Day: a head for opera

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The Independent Culture

Opera has long been renowned for the extravagance of its settings – but few productions can have aimed for so dramatic a backdrop as this new production in Austria. For Italian musician Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier, British director Keith Warner has deployed an enormous sculpted torso, complete with 15ft eyeless head. The set is still several months from completion.

The Bregenz Festival, where the production is going on, is well known for a history of extraordinary design. Its watery setting on Bregenz's Lake Constance came about almost 70 years ago when the first festival was being prepared, and the city couldn't afford to build an opera house – a shortcoming that has since become a trademark. One recent set consisted of a vast skeleton leafing through a manuscript populated by tiny human figurines.