Barbara de Limburg

Barbara de Limburg designs for both theatre and opera, producing beautiful and imaginative sets that are in harmony with and complement fully the work of the directors with whom she collaborates.  She works regularly with renowned director Laurent Pelly, amongst others.   Current highlights include L’enfant et les sortilèges (Glyndebourne Festival and Saito Kinen Festival), La traviata  for Angers-Nantes Opéra, Massenet’s Cendrillon (Royal Opera House Covent Garden, La Monnaie Brussels, Opéra de Lille and Teatro del Liceu Barcelona) and Rossini’s Il Viaggio à Reims for Nuremberg State Opera.  Other notable successes include Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen for Saito Kinen, and Hansel & Gretel for the Glyndebourne Festival.  Recent theatre work has included Sous La Ceinture for Théâtre Varia Brussels and Théâtre National de Bordeaux and Erik Satie -  Mémoires d’un Amnésique for TNT Toulouse.

Barbara de Limburg wins Gramophone Award for Best Opera Recording

21 Aug 2014

Barbara de Limburg’s set design of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges (Glyndebourne Festival 2012) has won the 2014 Gramophone Award for Best Opera Recording.  Directed by...

Teatro dell’Opera di Roma stages Barbara de Limburg and Laurent Pelly’s acclaimed Ravel operas

29 Jan 2014

Laurent Pelly’s production of Ravel’s only two surviving operas L’heure espagnole and L’enfant et les Sortilèges received critical acclaim at the 2012 Glyndebourne Festival and...

Barbara de Limburg and Laurent Pelly open Cendrillon at Liceu, Barcelona

19 Dec 2013

Pelly’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon is the very first to be staged at the Gran Teatre del Liceu.  This production (with costume design by Pelly himself) is a book of fairy tales...

Hansel & Gretel returns to Glyndebourne

11 Oct 2013

Barbara de Limburg and Laurent Pelly’s contemporary, beautiful staging of Humperdinck’s sugar-rush opera Hansel & Gretel - created for the Festival in 2008 - returns for the Glyndebourne...

Barbara de Limburg and Laurent Pelly’s stunning Ravel double bill travels to Saito Kinen Festival

19 Aug 2013

Following the highly-acclaimed 2012 Glyndebourne production of Ravel’s only two surviving operas L’heure espagnole and L’enfant et les Sortilèges, world-renowned director and...

Barbara de Limburg makes her design premiere of Verdi’s La Traviata at Angers Nantes Opéra

24 May 2013

Internationally renowned set designer, Barbara de Limburg, marks her La Traviata debut as she weaves her wildly imaginative wand over the Angers Nante Opéra stage.  Joining her in this new...

Barbara De Limburg and Laurent Pelly’s Glyndebourne Ravel Double Bill makes The Independent’s best of 2012 list

08 Jan 2013

Barbara De Limburg and Laurent Pelly’s productions of Ravel's operas L'heure Espagnole and L'enfant et les sortilèges at Glyndebourne 2012 have been named as one of the...

De Limburg, Pelly and Ono weave their magic over Glyndebourne

31 Jul 2012

Creative trio Laurent Pelly, Kazushi Ono and Barbara De Limburg have received high praise following the extraordinary opening night of a sell out performance of Glyndebourne’s Ravel Double Bill:...

Laurent Pelly and Barbara de Limburg open Massenet’s ‘Cendrillon’ – new production to The Royal Opera House

05 Jul 2011

For the first time ever, The Royal Opera presents the story of Cinderella as told in Massenet’s opera.  Laurent Pelly opens his production, for which he has also designed the...

Barbara de Limburg opens innovative new production of Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims at the Nuremberg State Opera

16 Feb 2011

Designer Barbara de Limburg has just opened an innovative new production of Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims at the Nuremberg State Opera, directed by Laura Scozzi, one of her regular collaborators....

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“the streamlined elegance of L'enfant et les sortilèges (1925), designed by Barbara de Limburg, suited that work's surreal fairytale text”

Observer (L'Enfant et les Sortigeles, Glyndebourne) - Aug 2012

“Barbara de Limburg go on to give us a series of stunning coups de theatre, from a dancing, sexualised teapot and Chinese cup and a dazzling fire, sung with flickering radiance by Kathleen Kim, to a hauntingly melancholy realization of torn wallpaper”

WhatsonStage (L'Enfant et les Sortigeles, Glyndebourne) - Aug 2012

“There’s applause when the curtain rises on Barbara de Limburg’s set — rightly so, with Khatouna Gadelia’s pre-pubescent vandal hilariously dwarfed by giant table, chair and mother.”

The Times (L'Enfant et les Sortigeles, Glyndebourne) - Aug 2012

“Pelly and his designer Barbara de Limburg create an astonishing fantasy world in a room dominated by a giant table and chairs.”

Daily Mail Online (L'Enfant et les Sortigeles, Glyndebourne) - Aug 2012

“Barbara de Limburg’s sets are among the most beautiful seen here in the past two decades….. Not since Peter Hall’s iconic staging of Britten’s A midsummer Night’s Dream, 31 years ago has the Glyndebourne stage been graced by anything as beautiful as the moonlit forest scene…..   and is by some distance the most captivating staging of this magical opera I have seen”

Sunday Times (L'Enfant et les Sortigeles Glyndebourne) - Aug 2012

“with unforgettable designs by Barbara de Limburg... The first scene is sheer brilliance... All quite magical”

The Arts Desk (L'Enfant et les Sortigeles, Glyndebourne) - Aug 2012

“Indeed you could spend much time praising the elegant set, wallpapered in pages of fairybook text, panels opening and shutting as the action demands and all echoing the opera’s mood of 18th century pastiche. Barbara de Limburg’s neat designs even have a fold-away balcony”

The Observer (Cendrillon, Royal Opera House) - Jul 2011

“Ingenious set designs of Barbara de Limburg”

The Arts Desk (Cendrillon, Royal Opera House) - Jul 2011

“The words are in French but still familiar - “Once upon a time...” – and the story which follows, Cendrillon (that’s Cinderella to you and me), is writ large across the surfaces of Barbara de Limburg’s set, opening like a pop-up book of fairytales whose sliding panels have our eyes hanging on to every word”

The Independent (Cendrillon, Royal Opera House) - Jul 2011

“Barbara de Limburg’s pop-up book style set designs are also wonderful; I love her metaphorical commitment to the physical page; words invade the set with the ideology of the opera being within the text or indeed within a book.”

Ceasefire (Cendrillon, Royal Opera House) - Jul 2011

“Barbara de Limburg Stirum’s ingenious variation on a cardboard city residence presents our young hero and heroine’s home in squalid eye-catching detail.”

The Arts Desk (Hansel and Gretel, Glyndebourne Festival Opera) - Jul 2010

“Barbara de Limburg’s clever set, Pelly and associate designer Jean-Jacques Delmotte’s amazing conglomeration of colourful costumes, and Duane Schuler’s atmospheric lighting all conspired to give us a real fairy-tale world, one with teeth behind its ingenious smiles.  And they used the stages’s huge expanse not as a liability, but as an asset.                                                                     ”

The New Mexican (Cendrillon / Santa Fe Opera) - Jul 2006

“Massenet's "Cendrillon” turned out to be the high point of the company's 50th- anniversary season. With a clever, stylish production by Laurent Pelly (stage direction and costumes) and Barbara de Limburg (sets), …Talk about going back to original sources: this production was text-driven, in the sense that the words of Perrault's fairy tale were everywhere -- reproduced on the walls, on the furniture, on some of the costumes, in a carriage formed in the shape of the word "carosse." The color scheme was black, white and brilliant red, and witty visual touches abounded.”

Musical America (Cendrillon) - Aug 2006

“The production was also greatly enhanced by Barbara de Limburg Stirum's sets, which follow Pelly's direction into the inner recesses of childhood imagination. Hänsel and Gretel's home is an outsized cardboard box, the forest is a desolated, wasted landscape, where the stark branches of dead, leafless trees are littered with discarded plastic bag.  The designer's pièce de résistance is the gingerbread house, which here is a vast confectionery stand with shelf loads of cookies, cakes and drinks. It doubles as the oven in which the wicked witch aims to cook her captive children, visually impressive.”

Musical America (Hänsel & Gretel, Glyndebourne) - Jul 2008

“Pelly and his set designer Barbara de Limburg Stirum don't force the analogies ­- the scenario seems to evolve quite naturally out of both the source in Grimm's fairy tale and our current crop of child-based anxieties. And the points aren't crassly rammed home -­ the production is bizarrely beautiful and very funny, using some simple but eternally effective theatrical trickery.”

Daily Telegraph (Hänsel & Gretel, Glyndebourne) - Jul 2008

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Barbara de Limburg designs for both theatre and opera, producing beautiful and imaginative sets that are in harmony with and complement fully the work of the directors with whom she collaborates.   

Born in Brussels, she studied set design at La Cambre, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels in Brussels, graduating in 1996.  Initially she worked mainly in theatre and in dance, expanding into opera in recent years. 

Dance projects have included a successful collaboration with choreographer Bud Blumenthal, their productions together including Groundscape in Essen and Brussels, Les Reflets d’Ulysse in Liège in 2005 and Brussels in 2006 and Dowhileloop in both Brussels and Paris in 2007. 

Recent theatre designs include Tennessee Williams – Short Stories (director Agathe Mélinand) at Théâtre national de Toulouse and Sous La Ceinture for Théâtre Varia Brussels and Théâtre national de Bordeaux with Delphine Salkin.  Most recently, she designed Erik Satie - Mémoires d’un Amnésique in Toulouse, which will enjoy revival in 2014 at TGP – Saint Denis, Théâtre de Sartrouville and TNT. 

Recent work in the opera house includes a highly-successful collaboration with Laurent Pelly for Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges, a co-production for Glyndebourne Festival (2012) and Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto (2013), and also available on DVD (FRA Musica).   In 2013, she designed La traviata for Angers Nantes Opéra (director Emmanuel Bastet) and other recent work includes numerous revivals of her existing designs, notably Cendrillon at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (2011), La Monnaie, Brussels (2011), Opéra de Lille (2012) and Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona (2013) and L'enfant et les sortilèges in Rome (2014). 

Her debut opera design was Massenet’s Cendrillon for the Santa Fe Opera in 2006, directed by Laurent Pelly. This collaboration continued in 2007 with Mozart’s La Finta semplice (Theater an der Wien), Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel (Glyndebourne Festival 2008, Glyndebourne Tour 2008, 2013 and revival by Opéra de Lyon 2010), Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Saito Kinen Festival, Japan 2008 and Maggio Musicale, Florence 2009), Massenet’s Don Quichotte (La Monnaie, Brussels and Teatro Massimo, Palermo 2010) and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Grand Thèâtre du Capitole, Toulouse 2010). Work with director Laura Scozzi includes set design for Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini (2008) and Rossini’s Il viaggio à Reims for Nuremberg State Opera in 2011.  Other projects  include designs for Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle with Jean-Philippe Delavault in Tourcoing.

August 2014