Australian theatre designer.
John Stoddart trained initially as an architect at the University of Sydney. In London in 1965 he designed the exhibition Contemporary Arts of the Commonwealth for the Commonwealth Arts Festival at the Royal Festival Hall. In 1966 he was awarded an Arts Council bursary to study theatre design. He wrote and directed two short films, the second of which, Bluebeard's Last Wife, was sponsored by the British Film Institute.
His first operatic work in the UK was designing a couple of productions for the first Scottish tour of Opera For All in 1966, before moving on to Anthony Besch's famous Scottish Opera production of Così fan tutte (1967). They then worked together on a series of designs for the company - The Marriage of Figaro (1968), The Turn of the Screw (1970), Der Rosenkavalier (1971), The Merry Widow (1973), Alceste (1974), and The Rape of Lucretia (1976).
For Sadler's Wells (later English National) Opera he designed John Cox's production of Patience (1969). With Anthony Besch he designed The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. Their New Opera Company co-productions of rarities that appeared at the Coliseum included British premieres of King Roger (Szymanowski), Bomarzo (Ginastera) and Julietta (Martinů).
For the Royal Opera, he and Besch designed La clemenza di Tito, a staging which was taken on the company's visit to La Scala in 1976. He also worked with (English National) Opera North in Leeds, designing the opening production of Samson et Dalila (1979), directed by Patrick Libby. His designs for the Wexford Festival included two Rossini operas, Otello and L'Equivoco Stravagante, as well as Puccini's at the time little-known La rondine.
Designs seen in Australia include Patience, Così fan tutte, The Barber of Seville and The Seraglio. In the Olympic year, 2000, he collaborated with John Cox on a staging of Capriccio at the Sydney Opera House. More recent projects for that iconic venue include Korngold's Die tote Stadt (2012), directed by Bruce Beresford.
Early in his career he designed La Favorita for the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Cavalli's L'Ormindo in Washington DC and The Barber of Seville and Humphrey Searle's Hamlet in Toronto.
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