Saturday, November 15, 2008

Opera Divas for a Day

Two of the Toronto Bead Society's members volunteered to be transformed into opera divas last Wednesday night. These ladies bravely agreed first to appear before a group of approximately one hundred people without wearing any makeup at all and then to be dressed and made up by the Canadian Opera Company's head costume coordinator, Sandra Corazza and the wig and makeup supervisor, Sharon Ryman.

The first woman was made up to be Klytaemnestra, the mother in the opera "Elektra" who has arranged the murder of her husband and becomes consumed with guilt. Her body is covered with sores and her hair is falling out, a look that was not at all flattering for the woman who had agreed to be dressed as this character but she was very gracious about being made to look so frightful! The costume itself was comprised of many layers, the coat being especially heavy, which Elektra peels away as part of the story. I especially loved the foxhead stole, with the glowing red eyes of the foxes to signify her dementia.

The second woman faired much better with her costume. She was dressed to be Lady MacBeth. The designer apparently chose to stage part of the opera as a cocktail party, appearing more to 1950 than the 1057 era of the actual play. The idea behind this costume was that Lady MacBeth had just been to the beauty parlour to have her hair done before donning this fancy dress, which is a production all on its own, with a huge skirt and a big black bow at the back. The impression I had was that it was a very Princess Grace look, as she might have looked in her 50's. I had trouble getting a good picture of the dress, because the woman wearing it didn't stand still for very long - it was as if the dress demanded she keep moving, to keep the skirt in motion.
One reviewer described it as follows: "During the cocktail party scene, Lady Macbeth is represented in full red and black plaid regalia, tucks and pin-ups, including her hairdo, in a taffeta craze. The effect was marvellous..." I agree.

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