Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Top 4 most memorable costumes

Opera transports the audience to worlds far away from the everyday, and costumes play a big role in creating that on-stage magic. Here are just a few of our favorite outfits from recent productions:

#1: Tosca’s performance gown from Tosca

© Elise Bakketun
The red dress from Act II of Tosca is one of the few costumes that is so iconic, opera fans can often guess the character from her outfit. Puccini’s masterpiece has a very specific setting – real-life locations in Rome on June 17 and 18, 1800 – and the stage directions and character descriptions in the opera’s original script are equally detailed. As Costume Design Coordinator Heidi Zamora says, “[This gown] is very often the same silhouette, almost always red… In 1800 the bust line of women’s dresses was very high; that’s how you can tell it’s early 19th-century period.” Watch to learn more about this beautiful garment:
Learn about the makeup and costumes from Seattle Opera's 2015 production of Tosca.

#2: Susanna’s dress from The Marriage of Figaro

© Philip Newton
Sometimes it’s the fabric that makes a costume memorable. In our 2016 The Marriage of Figaro, designer Elizabeth Whiting chose period silhouettes but a surprising fabric: denim! Servant woman Susanna’s dress is just one example of this production’s 18th-century styles created from recycled present-day jeans. Watch to see how rivets & zipper details fit into 18th-century military coats, the seat of a pair of jeans becomes a servant woman's corselette, and more:
Discover the unconventional fabric used for the costumes from Seattle Opera's 2016 production of The Marriage of Figaro.

#3: Pasithea’s clamshell couture from Semele

© Elise Bakketun
The sky’s the limit when an opera takes place on Mount Olympus, home of the gods. In Handel’s Semele, king of the gods Jupiter has chosen beautiful mortal woman Semele to be his lover, much to the displeasure of his goddess wife Juno. When Juno seeks the help of sleep god Somnus, he refuses until Juno conjures the nymph of his dreams: Pasithea, a fanciful character inspired by Boticelli’s famous painting “The Birth of Venus” and played by a dancer. In the hands of a talented designer like Vita Tzykun, even a nearly 300-year-old Baroque opera can feel fresh and exciting.

#4: Papageno’s bird-catching outfit from The Magic Flute

© Rozarii Lynch
Elaborate costumes aren’t just for the ladies of opera! Some male characters have outfits that are just as fun and memorable as any gown. Take The Magic Flute’s Papageno, for example. He’s a bachelor and a bird-catcher, a trade that requires camouflage and trap-setting, and over time he has started to look a lot like the creatures he’s trying to ensnare. At Seattle Opera, a whimsical green and blue feathered ensemble from designer Zandra Rhodes ensures that Papageno is instantly recognizable as soon as he steps onto the stage. This production of The Magic Flute returns to Seattle Opera in May 2017.

Ready to experience a night of spectacular costumes and epic music for yourself? Explore our 2016/17 season to choose from over-the-top comedy, passion-fueled tragedy, colorful fantasy, and more.


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