Felipe Barral Filming Pagliacci (credit:y Ken Howard)

Audio Q&A: Video producer Felipe Barral discusses filming The Atlanta Opera’s “Pagliacci”

Giorgio Koukl & Mark Gresham | 11 MAR 2021

Emmy award-winning video producer Felipe Barral is a multimedia storyteller who expresses himself creatively through audiovisual works, music (both as a musician and composer), visual art, writing and journalism. He holds a Masters degree in Philosophy.

Felipe Barral behind the mask and the camera.

Felipe Barral behind the mask and the camera.

Born in Chile, Barral is bilingual and bicultural, creating content both in English and Spanish. He is the founder, CEO and executive producer/director of his own production company, IGNI Productions, and it digital channel for the arts, thegchannel.com.

For 20 years, Barral produced high quality storytelling at CNN. In addition to his ongoing Igni creations, this season Barral became director of digital media for The Atlanta Opera after working with them creatively for several seasons.

Barral recently joined EarRelevant’s Giorgio Koukl in a long distance chat about creating the film version of The Atlanta Opera’s Fall 2020 production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci a video which Koukl reviewed for EarRelevant. After the review, Koukl (who lives in the Swiss canton of Ticino, where Leoncavallo wrote the opera) still had questions about the video production process for Pagliac

Listen to Giorgio Koukl’s conversation with Felipe Barral:

Music clips: Richard Trey Smagur (Canio) sings “Vesti la giubba” — from the soundtrack of The Atlanta Opera’s video production of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Used by permission of The Atlanta Opera.

EarRelevant also obtained a little bit of background from Barral about how he came to work with The Atlanta Opera:

After he stopped working with CNN (Cable News Network) in 2017 Felipe Barral went all-in on growing his own production company, Igni Productions. Although he had already created Igni seven years before and was working on independent projects, CNN was keeping him busy traveling around the world filming and producing video for their shows.

Barral says that when he created Igni Productions “it was more for my own multimedia projects.” Then more and more clients wanted to have his cinematic style in their own productions. That’s when he took the opportunity to go full steam with Igni and position it solidly in the arts, film and entertainment industry — “because of course, you know, I’m an artist,” he says. It’s Barral’s deep commitment to the artistic element which motivates his creative style and philosophy.

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“At the beginning of 2018,” says Barral, “I was interviewing Tomer Zvulun and that was the first time that I met him in person. We really connected very well during the conversation. We started talking about what I was doing, and he realized also that he had seen my work before without knowing me.”

Barral was looking for creative partnerships at the time and Zvulun was already thinking about bringing more video elements into The Atlanta Opera. Within a couple of weeks they and the company’s marketing and social media team got together over lunch to discuss different possibilities for working together. Barral started collaborating with them beginning with Jake Heggie’s Out of Darkness, Two Remain in 2018, creating a number of “behind the scenes” videos and, Barral says, “almost actually a short documentary about the whole process” as well as recording the show for archival video.

After that they continued to collaborate through the next season, and again in 2019-2020, continuing to explore creative possibilities, including the idea of the company creating a video studio and a digital platform for exhibition of content to audiences, even monetizing it.

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All of that creative brainstorming became hyper-important with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, canceling not only then company’s production of Porgy and Bess mid-stream, but the rest of that season, and The Atlanta Opera was pushed suddenly into the forefront of of either shutting down or reinventing how to present opera both live and on media to the public. The results of their efforts in the Fall of 2020 seized the attention of the international opera community.

The company is now poised to repeat that success with live productions – two operas and three concerts – and video made of and around them this Spring with live outdoor presentations beginning mid-April. ■

► For more information about the new Spring 2021productions, visit: www.atlantaopera.org

► Learn more about Felipe Barral at: fbarral.com

Giorgio Koukl is a Czech-born pianist/harpsichordist and composer who resides in Lugano, Switzerland. Among his many recordings are the complete solo piano works and complete piano concertos of Bohuslav Martinů on the Naxos label. He has also recorded the piano music of Tansman, Lutosławski, Kapralova, and A. Tcherepnin, amongst others, for the Grand Piano label. Koukl has most recently completed recording the solo piano music of Hungarian composer Tibor Harsányi.

Mark Gresham is publisher and principal writer of EarRelevant.