When designing a set for an opera, do not design it as a giant staircase. A few productions come to mind.
- Old production of Die Frau ohne Schatten at San Francisco.
- The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera.
- Nabucco also from the Met.
When you are designing a set for an opera, please write out in large letters and hang it up somewhere obvious: THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE SINGING. No matter what their conditioning program, climbing up and down gigantic staircases is going to make them out of breath. We would prefer that they were not out of breath.
Placido Domingo in The First Emperor had the good sense not to even try it. He did his final scene near the bottom.