Friday, December 19, 2008

Opera: It Looks Good On You

As a little girl, I loved playing dress-up. (Truth be told, I still do.) How amazing is it to put on a shiny dress or wig and suddenly be transformed into someone else? One minute, you're the same old you – and the next minute, you're a princess. Or ballerina. Or Valkyrie, depending upon your parents' love of Wagner.

Costumes have this amazing transformative power. I think that's why I'm looking forward to the sets and costumes of The Pearl Fishers so much. I know that while having the performers in street clothes wouldn't make that famous duet any less beautiful, the sets and costumes really bring it home.

So I wanted to share some interviews with Zandra Rhodes, the costume and set designer. One is a piece she wrote on what it's like to design for the opera – you can read it here. There's also a pretty cool video from the great folks at San Diego Opera where she talks about the process – see it here.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Zandra, she made a name for herself in 1970's Britain by revolutionizing the punk scene. She's gone on to design for the cast of Sex and the City and Princess Diana and has designed two other operas – Aïda and The Magic Flute. I've seen pictures of The Pearl Fishers, and it's pretty wild. Tons of color and a lot of texture and prints. Thanks to Zandra and the good folks at San Diego Opera, I've also gotten my hands on some renderings and production photos:

I'll be going to a costume fitting in January and taking a lot of photos. I wonder if they'll let me try anything on…

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