WEB POSTER EXHIBITION - The making of a "King David" poster by Jean-Benoit Levy

When Jean-Benoit Levy, the swiss graphic designer now living in California, received the commission from Jacques-Henri Addor, president du Choeur Faller in Lausanne, Switzerland, to create a poster for a performance of Arthur Honnegger's famous symphonic psalm "Le Roi David", he asked me if I would be interested to document the design process and show the various stages of his work.

"Le Roi David" was composed in Mezieres, Switzerland, in 1921 by Arthur Honegger. The libretto was written by Rene Morax, and tells the biblical story of King Davidís life. The first poster for the play was designed by Rene's brother Jean Morax, see below.

First, Jean-Benoit Levy studied what had already been done by other people:


This is the first poster of the opera ever made, by Jean Morax in 1921. There was a question to reuse the same poster, but the client finally decided to order a completely new version.



Movie poster, 1951

Movie poster, 1985

Levy explains the steps in the design process : I have contacted various photographers and illustrators in order to use their images. What you see is the result of two presentations which are shown below in about the right chronology of visual research.

The client requested at least 10 different ideas for the first step. I had to listen to the music of this Symphonic Psalm, to find inspiration and was free to look into any direction I wanted. After a first presentation the client gave me his input and I refined some of the posters or made some pieces completely in a new way. The client choose the direction they liked the most, and I basically had to accept that.


Version 1, Illustration: Gustave Dore


Version 2, Photography: Daniel Furon, San Francisco: ( www.furon.net )


Version 3, Photography: Lourdes Almeida, Mixcoac, Mexico.
Levy found this picture on Posterpage, contacted Lourdes Almeida, and used it for his poster proposition. It is my favorite.


Version 4, Illustration: Jason Pastrana, Baltimore, U.S.A. ( www.jasonpastrana.com )


Version 5, Illustration: Dennis Letbetter, San Francisco ( www.studioletbetter.com )


Version 6, Illustration silhouette: Szu-Ying Lai. San Francisco / Taiwan


Version 7, Photography: Daniel Furon, San Francisco: ( www.furon.net )


Version 8, Photography: Jean Benoit Levy, San Francisco


Version 9, Photography: Jean Benoit Levy, San Francisco

and this is the final version:


Photography: Claudia Dallendoerfer, San Francisco
Performances:

Date : Samedi 27 septembre 2008
Location(s) : St Gall - Lokremise - 20h30
Country : Suisse
Piece : LE ROI DAVID
Performed by : Choeur Faller
Ensemble Instrumental
Dir. Pascal Mayer
Comments : Construite en 1903 par Carl Moser, la Lokremise est une remise de 80 metres de diametre, en beton arme, pouvant recevoir 21 locomotives, actuellement Centre culturel.


Date : Vendredi 3 octobre 2008
Location(s) : Theatre du Jorat - Mezieres 20h30
Country : Suisse
Piece : LE ROI DAVID
Performed by : Choeur Faller
Ensemble instrumental
Dir. Pascal Mayer





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