I recently had a chance to take a look at the costume rooms of the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, where the costumes for Aida are being sewn and fitted. I'm very excited to be able to show you some of the photos today, along with a glimpse of the process of taking a costume from an idea to a finished product.
In approaching Aida, director Tim Albery has taken note of how many private, intimate scenes are placed in the context of a society of great power, wealth, expansiveness, and nationalism—and has considered how these characteristics are reflected in the societies of our own times. He has chosen to set the opera in a luxurious and ostentatious palace in an unspecified war-torn country. The sets and costumes are meant to convey a society governed by the "nouveau riche," with lots of money and power but somewhat vulgar and outdated tastes. The lavish opulence of the surroundings will stand in contrast to the fundamental intimacy of many of the opera's most important scenes.
Using these ideas as a guideline, the costume designer, Jon Morrell, assembled a "costume bible," full of sketches, inspirational photographs, and fabric samples. Here's a peek inside!
From there, the costumes are partially constructed before being fitted to the singers. Here's a detail from a pink, beaded blazer. As you can see from the pins, it's not quite finished.
At the costume fitting, the singers try on the shoes for their costumes. The two pairs below are very luxe! An earlier form of this gold-patterned dress can be seen in the "costume bible" photo above—it's actually a vintage dress that has been shortened and elaborated with some fur trim.
This mask is awaiting some final touches: the face will soon be embellished with more gold coins. Part of the costume fitting process will involve affixing foam strips to the back for the comfort of the wearer.
Last to be fitted are the wigs, which are first styled and then adjusted during the fitting. The wig in the foreground will be paired with the fur-trimmed gold dress.
Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (12) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001