Parlando: The COC Blog


Semele's Costumes

If you've glanced at the production photos of Semele you've seen that the costumes are very sumptuous, making use of bold colours, large billowing shapes, and intricate patterns. Often, particularly for the mortal characters, the costumes combine 16th-century European silhouettes with Chinese fabric designs. The costume for Athamas, Semele's betrothed (before she runs away to become the mistress of the god Jupiter) is an excellent example. The distinctive 16th-century "pumpkin pants" and doublet are made out of elaborately-patterned green and gold silk. 

In these photos you can see countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo being fitted for the costume. The strips of ornate silk that make the costume so eye-catching are layered on top of a much plainer black base – this photo gives you the "before" and "after" at once (notice the single strip of fabric on the floor, waiting to be pinned).

Here's a closer look, this time with a neck ruff... 



...and this time with cap and accessories.


Costume co-ordinator Ren Cahill also showed off the stunning blue gown for Ino.


This is part of the costume for Jupiter, and it's appropriately godly.


All the costumes are by designer Han Feng, who oversaw the fitting. She has made her mark in the fashion world with a studio in Shanghai and a boutique in New York. Her credits as a costume designer include Anthony Minghella's famous production of Madama Butterfly for the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera's The Bonesetter's Daughter.


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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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