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Allan Lees OAM

Designer Biography

Allan Lees' career has spanned a period of over fifty years as designer for opera, ballet, theatre and musicals, and as a teacher and theatre consultant. His designs have been staged throughout Australia and in New Zealand, United States of America, England, Germany and Austria. Allan was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2013 for his services to the performing arts.

More recently he designed productions of Ethan Stiefel's first original work for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Bierhalle, Phantom of the Opera, Madama Butterfly, and the inaugural production for Southern Opera of Carmen in New Zealand. In 2010 he designed the set and costumes for Don Quixote at His Majesty's Theatre in Perth for the West Australian Ballet and in 2011 designed the set and costumes for Who Killed Mario Lanza at Riverside Parramatta and West Australian Ballet's new production of Cinderella.

Born in Dunedin, New Zealand, he was commissioned to design Swan Lake for the Royal Ballet's prima ballerina Svetlana Beriosova and invited to join the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust in Sydney. He was appointed Resident designer of the Old Tote Theatre Company, fore-runner to the Sydney Theatre Company and later Head of Design for the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Awarded an Australia Council Artist Development Grant for further studies in Europe, he spent time at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden working with the esteemed opera director, John Copley. As an Associate Consultant he assisted in theatre consultancy with venues including the Adelaide Festival Centre, the Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane. Allan was also Consultant and General Manager of The State Opera House in Wellington.

Responsible as a theatre designer for well over 350 major productions -

Opera Productions include:

For Opera Australia; Don Pasquale (1967), Fidelio (1970) and Concert Hall production (1979), Rigoletto (1972), Jenufa (1974), I Masnadieri (1980), Hamlet (1982), Die Walkure (1983), Adriana Lecouvreur (1984). His set designs for the John Copley production of Tosca (1981) were acclaimed during the 2000 Sydney Olympics Arts Festival.

For The Queensland Opera and successor Opera Queensland; Madama Butterfly (1974), La Traviata (1974), Cosi Fan Tutte (1974), Don Giovanni (1976), The Marriage of Figaro (1977), Martha (1980), Tosca (1988) (1995) (2003) and (2011).

For State Opera of South Australia; the re-staging of Fidelio (1989), Adriana Lecouvreur (1994)

For Victoria State Opera; Fidelio (1988), Tosca (1995)

For New Zealand; The Gipsy Baron (1960), La Vie Parisienne (1963), Don Giovanni (1965) (1992), The Barber of Seville (1970) (2000), Faust (1970), Cosi Fan Tutte (1991) (1992), La Boheme (1991) (1998), Il Trovatore (1992),La Traviata (1993), The Merry Widow (1993) (1995), Amahl and the Night Visitors (1993), The Magic Flute (1996) (1999),Noyes Fludde (1996), Tosca (1996), Rigoletto (1997), The Marriage of Figaro (1997), Madama Butterfly (2003), Carmen (2007).

Ballet Productions include:

For the Royal New Zealand Ballet; Swan Lake (1965), Romeo & Juliet (1988), Hamlet (1992), Bierhalle (2013).

For The Richmond Ballet, Virginia USA; Romeo & Juliet (costumes) (1996) (2011).

Theatre and Musicals include:

Love For Love (1974), Equus (1974), The Alchemist (1977), As You Like It (1978), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1979), The Circle (1982), Les Miserables (1994), Jekyll & Hyde (1997), The Way of the World (1998), Macbeth (1999), Cabaret (1999), Three Sisters (2000), Hay Fever (2000), Kiss Me Kate (2000), Othello (2001), and The Jungle Book (2001) for which he received the Costume Designer of the Year Award, and Phantom of the Opera (2013).

Allan Lees has, as well as his teaching at NIDA, been Guest Lecturer in Costume at TAFE NSW and Guest Lecturer in Theatre at the NZ Drama School in Wellington.

Designer Gallery

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Costume at the Turn of the Century (1990 - 2015) - Moscow, Russia - - June-August 2015

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