From 1993 to 1998, David devoted himself to the production of a single work, L’Opéra. In the sumptuous interior of an elaborate and lavish miniature opera house more than six feet long and four feet high, a performance of Aida is underway, watched by the casts of various other operas. As the curtain rises, torchères burst into flames, the orchestra strikes their tune, and the audience begins to sing along with the cast. To achieve this spectacle David Beck carved more than two hundred figures, animating them with an elaborate system of spindles, cogs, and motors concealed beneath the floor of his building.
The project involved the use of a rich variety of materials including eight different woods, copper sheeting, lacquer, brass, satin moiré, gold leaf, gouache painting, eggshell, and marquetry. Packed with intricate detail, hilarious vignettes, and multiple illusions to the operatic repertoire, the sculpture is not only an inspired tribute to the art of opera, but a complex, brilliantly crafted, and highly imaginative work of art.