Via Slate magazine's "Behold: A Photo Blog": check out photographer David Leventi's portfolio of gorgeous, large-format photos of renowned opera houses taken from center stage. From his Artist's Statement:
I have photographed each house systematically from the spot at center stage where a performer would stand. ... Lit solely by the existing chandeliers and lamps, each opera house has been composed with the first row of seats acting as a base at the bottom of the frame to just above where the chandelier meets the ceiling at the top, everything is in focus from the front to the back of the house. The upper balcony is anchored to the top corners of the frame as much as possible while the ends of the rows of orchestra seats anchor the bottom corners. Though the proportion of the spaces varies, the goal is to attain both lateral and vertical symmetry in each image, thus flattening out the space in perfect equilibrium. The resulting view is an impossible one for the naked eye, but the camera allows both line-of-sight and periphery to come together in a single frame. This gives the effect – when one stands in front of the mural-sized prints – of being surrounded by the space.
In addition to the Palais Garnier, there are photos of the Bolshoi, the Mariinsky, Teatro Colón, Covent Garden, La Scala, La Fenice, the Met, and many, many more -- each more glorious than the last. (Except for the Met, which looks utterly garish except for its pretty chandeliers, and Toronto's Four Seasons Center, which somehow contrives to be both shiny and earth-toned, and non-descript.)
Leventi's portfolio also includes similarly scaled photos of prisons, Romania, and New York City. His New York photos especially remind me of the natural light, large-format work photographer Jan Staller did for his wonderful book "Frontier New York."