Saturday, November 30, 2013

Designing Opera Costumes In The Digital Age Of High-Definition

Lisette Oropesa, who sings the role of Nanetta, fits herself in riding boots. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)
The New York Times visits the Metropolitan Opera costume department to expose all the difficulties in recreating period costumes that can sustain the scrutiny of a high-definition camera. Taking a peak at the latest cast and costumes from Robert Carsen's new production of Verdi's Falstaff, the newspaper features a wonderful gallery of photos along with the story. "High-definition cameras are only the latest challenge for members of the Met’s costume department. As it is, their work requires a combination of finely honed technical skills, a historian’s understanding of period costumes, and personalized attention to opera singers, their performance style and body hang-ups. At the same time, Met costumes have to be much more durable than regular clothes. Unlike couture fashion, these garments must last for many seasons — sometimes decades — and withstand rapid costume changes between scenes. In the past, that might have meant sturdier zippers and thicker hooks, but with cameras trained even on the backs of singers, the Met’s designers, drapers and seamstresses have had to become craftier." [Source]

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