O is for Opera
By Sibyl Rubottom & Jim Machacek
(False Bay Editions), 2006. Edition of 45.
9.4 x 6.75"; 90 pages. Accordion fold with pop outs and multiple other movables. Letterpress printed on Velata paper using Bernhard Modern type and images by photopolymer plates. Calligraphy design by Judythe Siecke. Set page drawings by Stephen Hendrickson. In wine-colored cloth-covered 7.25 x 10 x 2.75" box.
The interior of the box is lined with paper in a Fortuny (Mariano Fortuny, 1871-1949, textile designer) design. The same fabric design becomes the accordion spine of the book so that it spreads like a stage curtain.
Pick up your program (provided) and opera glasses (non-functional paper version provided) and begin an alphabetic romp through opera, from Aida to Die Zauberflote. Presentation surprises throughout: Aida comes with a 3-dimensional pyramid and the march of the elephants (plus a giraffe, lion and bear), Die Zauberflote [The Magic Flute] with an inventive volvelle.
I is for Intermission at the Café Intermezzo where “the audience was abuzz about the soprano’s voice” and a collaged plate of pastries awaits.
S is for Sets/Set Design. Open the doors and find yourself in a modified tunnel book back stage, peering through flats at the audience.
The innovation and attention to detail never stop. Even the confetti at the post-show champagne party (which faces the colophon) was printed and tipped on.
Bay Park Press: "O is for Opera was conceived in March, 2003 and printing began in April. We printed through several life crises (ours, our families, our interns), numerous teaching assignments, other letterpress projects, press breakdowns and new puppies, births and deaths. And so it probably goes with all long-term projects. But at times we wondered if we would ever make our end. But we kept on printing, and printing, some pages having at least 15 color runs through our trusty Vandercook I.... We estimate we cranked the press 19,853 times in this edition of 45. It is Spring 2006 and our opera odyssey is finally finished. We hope yours is just starting."
O is for Opera is the sixth letterpress artist book produced by Sybil Rubottom and Jim Machacek.
A masterwork of invention.