Parlando: The COC Blog

8/19/2011

Silk and Hoop Skirts: Costumes for Rigoletto

The story of Rigoletto depicts the deceit, corruption, and sexual wrongdoings of the nobility, in particular the fictional Duke of Mantua and his courtiers. Director Christopher Alden has opted to change the period setting of his production from the 16th century to the 19th century – specifically, the 1860s – and Michael Levine's designs are meant to illustrate the wealth, privilege, and sensuality of the Duke's court. For the women's costumes, this means long and colourful silk gowns, complete with enormous steel hoop skirts.

Here's the sketch for some of the female super costumes ("super," short for supernumerary, refers to a non-singing actor playing a small part):

The COC's costume staff has been working hard to get the costumes completed and fitted. Here's how these opulent dresses look in "real life":

 

This dress is a work-in-progress. If you look carefully, you can see the pins.

 

In this photo taken earlier this month, super Marie Colucci tries the dress on for a costume fitting. Note the steel hoop skirt hanging on a hook, and the burgundy dress waiting to be fitted in the background!

 

This dress has emerged as the "staff favourite." Below is a closer look at the neckline:

 

 

The artists will all receive tips from the costume staff on the best way to comfortably walk in the dresses – especially when navigating doorways and stairs – without tripping over the bottom rung of the hoop. Wearing them, it turns out, is much more difficult than looking at them.

All designs and sketches by Michael Levine. Photos © Canadian Opera Company, 2011

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2011/2012 / comments (0) / permalink


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