In Spring, 2014 I was asked to be the costume designer for the Great Neck South High School opera production of Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). This public school has produced professional quality operas for the past 44 years, sung in the original language and with a full student orchestra. It was great to work again with Stage Director Benjamin Spierman and the school’s talented and dedicated music department.  I was especially delighted to have several students help with creating some of the costumes.  One costume in particular, that was a lot of fun to think through and make was that of the old hag woman, really Papagena under cover… and what a cover that was. A follow-up post will show some of the steps how we created it.

Papagena, aka the Hag

Thanks to Fairfield Processing for providing their Nature-Fil Blend bamboo batting and to Rit for their Liquid Dye that helped us achieve the beautiful mottled results we were looking for to create this striking frock!

Below find some of photo clips from the production. You can view the entire delightful opera online at: http://tv.greatneck.k12.ny.us/the-magic-flute-at-south-high—2014.html

Papageno (James Kennedy) meets the hag (Jasmine Krause). Papageno (James Kennedy) meets the hag (Jasmine Krause). Papageno and Papagena in fine feathered form. Papageno and Papagena in fine feathered form. The student orchestra played under the direction of Maestro Michael Schwartz. Dramatic lighting by Debra Dumas. The student orchestra played under the direction of Maestro Michael Schwartz. Dramatic lighting by Debra Dumas. Pamina, (Michelle Gaffer) is held in check by some of the chorus. Pamina, (Michelle Gaffer) is held in check by some of the chorus. Tamino , a prince (Steven Telsey) gets a warning from the Spirits of the Temple. Dr. Pamela Levy was the Musical Director that trained all the voices to create the melodious sounds. Tamino , a prince (Steven Telsey) gets a warning from the Spirits of the Temple. Dr. Pamela Levy was the Musical Director that trained all the voices to create the melodious sounds. Priests look on as Sarastro (Alex Scheater) reaches out to Tamino. Priests look on as Sarastro (Alex Scheater) reaches out to Tamino. The magnificent dragon was borrowed from the school's Asian Night festivities. The magnificent dragon was borrowed from the school’s Asian Night festivities. Behind the scenes, coloring is applied to the hag's arms. Makeup designer, Rachel Estabrook created the looks earlier with the team and they refer to the step-by-steps they captured on their iPads. Behind the scenes, coloring is applied to the hag’s arms. Makeup designer, Rachel Estabrook created the looks earlier with the team and they refer to the step-by-steps they captured on their iPads.
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Recycle- from home decor to the opera stage

by admin on December 16, 2013

With the start of my next opera costume production, I thought I would share a few of the past seasons’ costumes and how we recycled fabrics left over from home decor projects I designed.  Below is one of the rooms where I worked with fusible adhesives and Velcro® Hook and Loop tapes to fashion a no-sew bedroom window scheme.  I love working with reversible fabrics. Here the gray dot sateen’s flip side provided the contrasting hems and leading edge.

 

gray dots, wwf page

After pleating the valance, I applied Sticky-Back loop tape to the wrong side of the top edge of the pleated panel and the hook tape to the back of a wide continental-style rod. Panels were positioned in place and VOILÀ- a no-sew, sophisticated window ensemble was created. Even the dog seemed content in his new digs!

 

detail gray dots

 

The angled ceiling added another challenge, but as with any shaped top, it is important to keep the lower edge “on grain” and do the trimming at the top.

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A few years after designing and making the above window fashions, I was asked to “dress” Stephen Mark Brown, an amazing tenor who has sung with Pavarotti on TV and has performed at La Scala.  Mark would be performing the role of Pagliacci for the North Fork Music Festival. The gaiety of a polka dot but in the somber gray tone seemed like a perfect blend for the sad clown role.

mark pagliacci3

 Stephen Mark Brown at his first fitting.  You can hear him sing at stephenmarkbrown.com.

 

gray dot bath suit top

Since there was limited fabric left from the step-by-steps remnants, we were able to use a bathing suit as the base and just add  legs. It not only saved on fabric, but time too… and the suit’s drawstring waist is adjustable for the next clown that comes along.

 

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Tips when working with self-covered beaded fabric

August 27, 2012

  I recently created a trio of mock-box decorative pillows for a client, made from a gorgeous but challenging diamond patterned silk fabric that was embellished with fabric-covered raised beads.  Here are a few tips that may help you navigate  a similar project. 1.  Realize that geometric patterns such as this, are often not evenly spaced. […]

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Tool Talk

June 8, 2011

Here are a few of the products caught my eye at the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) Conference and Trade Show. If you have used a rotary cutter and protective mat for cutting fabrics or paper, you know how straight the lines can be… unless that is, if you slip away from the ruler.  That […]

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CHA Trade Show

May 21, 2011

With only a few hours to scan the CHA Trade Show (Craft & Hobby Association) which took place in Los Angeles in late January, I still came away inspired by the talent shown in the samples displayed and by new tools and products that answered the quest of the designer. The CHA Show is always […]

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