Saturday, 8 March 2014

"Die Fledermaus" @ the Metropolitan Opera

While at the Metropolitan Opera doing an internship in the costume department, I was lucky enough to see quite a few performances. The first one was the Met's brand new production of "Prince Igor", a Russian opera with an unusually HUGE chorus. My first week everyone was busy getting those costumes ready for delivery for the dress rehearsal. safe to say, everyone seemed pretty stressed and I definitely felt thrown in the deep end! But that was the best way to learn and now I wouldn't swap those really difficult moments for anything.

One evening I went with my cousin and auntie to see "Die Fledermaus". I got tickets with my company discount - how fancy! - and we had great seats! Right in the middle of the stalls!

This production of "Die Fledermaus" directed by Jeremy Sams was a new one, produced by the Met with a contemporary, wide audience in mind. Featuring a new English libretto and fabulous designs, this production was sure to be a hit with it's audience both in New York and cinemas all over the world.

Personally, this is my favourite stage production I have ever seen. Ever. It was incredibly beautiful and from the moment the curtain was raised, I was so inspired to design again. Not that I was doubting my love for design, but I had been feeling a little stuck and uninspired lately - seeing this show completely refreshed and re-motivated me. The whole production is an excellent example of opera as an art form - wonderful text, singing, design. The complete opposite of the stereotype of opera as something classical, snooty or for an older audience. What made this even more inspiring for me was that I got to talk briefly with Irene Bohan, Assistant to the designer Robert Jones for this production. Irene was also at the Met while I was there, working on "Werther", which I got to see in final dress.

This version of "Die Fledermaus" is set in Vienna on New Year's Eve, 1899. Act I takes place at Eisenstein's apartment, Act II at the grand ball hosted by Count Orlofksy and Act III in the jail. Take a look at some photos, and if you ever get the chance to see this production I highly recommend it!

"I think the audience has to experience the spectacle of going to that party. Prince Orlofsky is incredibly wealthy and he would say to everyone, You’ve got to wear black and gold. It’s a theme party. So it’s incredibly opulent. "- Robert Jones


Aren't these dancer suits so clever? Nude coloured stretch with subtle sparkle! Amazing by themselves, but even more striking in contrast to the intricate and luxurious 19th Century ballgowns worn by the many guests. I really like the mix of performance types in grand scale operas - singing, acting and dancing! It provides a lot of scope for costume designs... As does the huge Met stage, as you can see below!

And for the designers out there, a few sketches and set models to inspire you too! (by Robert Jones)

For more photos of this fantastic production, have a look at the Met Opera's online archive: "Die Fledermaus" (210)

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