Sunday, 4 May 2014

Met Opera Internship Diary Part 5 - Costume Bibles, 'Maria Stuarda', John Macfarlane

When I was researching the Metropolitan Opera's vast repertory I was so happy to come across productions designed by John Macfarlane. His designs, attention to detail and beautiful costume drawings/illustrations are so inspiring to me.

In the Met Opera Costume Office, there are shelves upon shelves of bibles, for every production the Company has in store. While I was in New York and at the Lincoln Center I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to look at archives. I didn't have a chance to go to the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Archives, but the whole of the Met repertory was right above my head, literally, every day I was there. So I made a list of bibles that I wanted to look at. Top of my list was 'Maria Stuarda', designed by John Macfarlane in 2012. You should have seen how excited Ben, fellow costume intern, and I were to open this bible!!

The binder contained many photos of the production, set boxes and beautifully intricate technical drawings of costumes, with fabric swatches for each part - from panels to panes and piping to lining - alongside drawn and painted costume illustrations. These detailed working drawings are not available online, but here are some examples of illustrations from the online Met Opera Archives.


Looking through John's drawings and seeing the attention to detail really motivated me. I have put some images of his designs above my desk to keep me inspired throughout my uni projects, and to remind me to keep drawing, drawing, drawing!

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