Opera props and theatrical effects

Alcina wing

Below is a selection of opera props and theatrical effects produced by David Wilson while he was head of Opera Australia's props department at their Sydney workshop in Surry Hills. From 1992 to 2008 David produced all the props and scenery dressing for over 75 new opera productions for the company. He also designed and built specialist props and theatrical special effects for many of these productions. Some of these are described in the links below.


If you need props or theatrical effects have a talk with David first. Additional information on prop making and mould making techniques can be found at the prop and mould making page.


(Click on a thumbnail for the full-size image)


Wright Cyclone engine
Wright Cyclone Engine

This replica of a Wright Cyclone radial aircraft engine was made for the modern opera "Madeline Lee" designed by Brian Thomson.

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Large extending wing mechanism
Extending Wing Mechanism

A wing mechanism was designed by David Wilson for the opera "Alcina" which could be extended onstage 6 metres and, when stowed, occupy a space of less than 90cm.

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Breakable sword
Breakable Sword

This breakable sword was made for the 2004 State Opera of South Australia production of Wagner's Ring Cycle. This sword could be swung about like a real one and then, at the press of a button, break in two.

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Ring Cycle telescopic spikes
Telescopic Spikes

The 2004 State Opera of South Australia production of Wagner's Ring Cycle included raising X12 six metre tall telescopic spike units from under the Festival Theatre stage floor.

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Silk flame fireplace
Silk Flame Fireplace

This silk flame fireplace was made for the 2005 production of "La Voix Humaine".

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Blood spurting razors
Blood Spurting Razors

These blood spurting razors were made for the 1998 production of "Sweeney Todd" designed by Peter England.

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Driveable Fiat Bambino
Driveable Fiat Bambino

The 1991 production of "Rigoletto" needed a driveable Fiat Bambino on stage. One was modified so that it could be propelled by a hand crank.

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Gold chandelier
Gold Chandelier

Designer Victoria Feitscher provided a reference photo of the gold chandelier from the ballroom in the Ca'Rezzonico palace in Venice for her production design of the 2001 production of "The Gypsy Princess".

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Driveable Model T Ford van
Model T Van

The 2001 production of "The Elixir of Love" was set in the Australian outback and needed a practical scissor lift in a specially built Model T Ford van.

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Replica Covent Garden lantern
Covent Garden Lantern

The 2008 production of "My Fair Lady" opens on a market scene in Covent Garden outside St. Paul's church in London. A prop replica of the large gas lantern fitted to the front wall of St Paul's church was required to replicate the church on stage.

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Large armillary sphere
Large Armillary Sphere

The reference for the Atlas statue and armillary sphere in Opera Australia's 2003 production of "Otello" was a photo of an 18th century bronze statuette provided by the designer Hans Schavernoch.

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Empire crystal chandelier
Empire Crystal Chandelier

For the 2008 production of "My Fair Lady" designer Richard Roberts provided a design for a prop empire crystal chandelier for the Ballroom scene.

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Large Perspex candelabra
Large Perspex Candelabra

Designer Michael Scott-Mitchell wanted a tall, clear Perspex candelabra built for his 2008 production of "Don Giovanni".

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