Giants Are Small's Co-Founders from left to right: Stage director Doug Fitch, Producer Edouard Getaz and multimedia entrepreneur Frederic Gumy.
Founded in 2008 by American director and visual artist Doug Fitch, Swiss filmmaker and producer Edouard Getaz, and multimedia entrepreneur Frederic Gumy, Giants Are Small became one of the most out-of-the-box and celebrated production companies in New York during the years 2010's.
Collaborating with top orchestras and exceptional contemporary talents, Giants Are Small was known for its extraordinary range of genre-bending productions, which capitalized on their signature fusion of theatre, live filmmaking, puppetry, music and visual art.
The partnership of Doug Fitch (Director) and Edouard Getaz (Producer) began with Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, with the New York Philharmonic, in 2005, and was the first production in which Fitch and Getaz pioneered the idea of bringing “live animation” to a wide audience. The production was narrated by F. Murray Abraham, Marian Seldes and Tim Blake Nelson.
In 2008, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Giants Are Small continued its development of live animation with a new version of Prokofiev’s Peter and Wolf, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, entitled Peter and the Wolf (and the Duck!) in another path-breaking production that merged live classical music, video and visual effects together in real time.
In 2010, Giants Are Small's fully-staged production of György Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, performed by the New York Philharmonic and conducted by Alan Gilbert, became the company's defining breakthrough. Celebrated as "Best Opera of the Year 2010" by The New York Times, New York Magazine, and TimeOut New York, this unforgettable rendition of Le Grand Macabre continues to be regarded as a landmark interpretation of Ligeti's masterpiece. The production made a comeback in 2019 at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, with Alan Gilbert once again conducting.
Giants Are Small collaborated with the New York Philharmonic again on the 2011 production of Janáček's opera The Cunning Little Vixen, which was called "Best Classical Event of the Year" by New York magazine. Both received superlative reviews and are consistently cited as benchmarks of contemporary opera production in New York.
In 2013, as part of a trilogy collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, Giants Are Small presented A Dancer's Dream, based on two works by Stravinsky: Fairy's Kiss and Petrushka - featuring New York City Ballet's star ballerina Sara Mearns and lead dancer Amar Ramasar. All performances, like for the previous productions, were sold out before it opened. In the fall of the same year, Giants Are Small launched W Hot Culture, a five episodes Web series on YouTube featuring the puppet Wigglesworth: celebrity-infused fast-forward journalism reporting on New York's hottest cultural events. The episodes, which received mixed responses, featured a diverse lineup of celebrities including Isaac Mizrahi, Meghan Markle, Nicky Hilton, and Sigourney Weaver.
In 2014, Giants Are Small created two Giants Are Small Discovery productions: Dadabomb and Gloria: A Pig Tale. These exploratory productions, drawing on diverse musical genres, apply the GAS treatment to smaller scale works in a range of cultural spaces. What happened in a GAS Discovery production? New ideas, experimentation, fresh artistic roadmaps.
In 2015, Giants Are Small presented Petrushka at London's Barbican (with the NY Phil) – an instant hit with the London audience. That same year, with Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music, Giants Are Small launched the app Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood and simultaneously the album narrated by American rock icon Alice Cooper (soundtrack featuring the German National Youth Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Shelley. The app won several awards and mentions (incl. APPY Awards and a KAPi Award at the 2016 CES Las Vegas and the audio album was translated in three other languages. In 2016, the German version, narrated by German rock star Campino, won an Echo Award (the German equivalent of a Grammy) in the category “Best Classical Adaptation”. The Italian version was narrated by rock star Elio and the Dutch version was narrated by actor Paul Haenen, well-known for providing the Dutch voices of Bert, Grover and other characters of Sesame Street.
In 2017, the world premiere of the live production of Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood took place at the Kennedy Center, in Washington D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra. The production has traveled to different parts of the world, including Seoul (South Korea), Melbourne (Australia), Singapore, Suzhou (China), Taipei (Taiwan), Des Moines (USA) and was presented by various symphonic orchestras until 2020, when the COVID pandemic forced Giants Are Small to cease its operations.
In a recent article reflecting on his 60 years of attending Philharmonic performances, New York Times' former chief classical music critic Anthony Tommasini fondly recalled his experience with Giants Are Small's production of Le Grand Macabre, which was conducted by Alan Gilbert and directed by Doug Fitch. Tommasini wrote, "I forgot all about acoustics. That night, the hall seemed cool – the place to be."
Though the founding members currently have no plans to revive Giants Are Small, the spirit of this extraordinary journey lingers in the memories of everyone who had the chance to witness one of their shows.