Winning design used for opera set

After a semester of diligent designing, senior Simone Meeks finally has the chance to bring her designs to life for the Albert Herring opera next week at the Frost School of Music.

Meeks is the second winner to have her stage set design develop through the Design/Build Program. This elective course offered by the School of Architecture is based on a competitive environment among the students to design and have the opportunity to build the winning piece.

“This is a program that demands a lot of initiative,” professor Jean-Francois Lejeune said. “The designs were developed and evaluated during the fall semester during the first portion of the Design/Build Program, and the winning piece is now being worked on by four students that are assisting Meeks in creating the stage sets.”

The second portion of the Design/Build program has given Meeks and the four students assisting her a lot of hands-on experience.

“We have to take many things into consideration- the precise measurements and the assembling of the pieces are some of the key things in having those sets ready on time,” Meeks said.

The location of the Albert Herring opera at Gusman Hall has also posed a challenge, since it hosts many different events throughout the semester, giving Meeks and the students a limited amount of time to evaluate the space where they will be placing the sets.

“We only have 24 hours to set up the sets before they are going to debut in the opera, so we try to help Simone throughout the entire process, including purchasing the materials needed to stay on budget,” said Fatima Almomen, Meeks’ classmate.

Meeks’ stage set for the opera implements recycled and borrowed materials to accomplish her design, including some furniture. The set will be constructed exclusively for the Albert Herring opera and the materials used will follow tradition and be recycled for future use in other School of Architecture projects.

Thania Potosme may be contacted at


What: Albert Herring opera
Where: Gusman Hall, Frost School of Music
When: Thurs-Sat at  8 p.m., Sun at 3 p.m.
Cost: $20 general admission, $10 UM faculty and staff and $5 students and seniors