Behind the Scenes of Arizona Opera Costumes

Do you like watching operas? Those who love Operas probably have been fell in love their extravagant costumes. On March 15th, Arizona Opera hosted an educational, fun event “Behind-the-Scenes at Opera: The Art of Costuming” sponsored by the Valley Friends of Arizona Opera.

Arizona Opera Costume Shop Manager Kathleen Trott gave a lecture about the steps of their ideas becoming the actual costumes, techniques of creating costumes, process of creation, fun facts and so on.

Behind-the-Scenes at the Arizona Opera The Art of Costuming by Valley Friends with 1840 Romantic dress

Arizona Opera Costume Shop Manager Kathleen Trott putting 1840’s “Romantic” dress on Jeanne to show how woman’s dress in Victorian era was contracted.

Inspiration of the Victorian Era for costume creation by Arizoan Opera Costume

Inspiration of the Victorian era for costume creation based on historical events and facts.

Kathleen explained that they try to make their customers for Arizona Opera very similar to the actual clothing at that era based on historical facts to make their play more real. Thus, she even learned the history and architecture of the old time because she believes that these historical facts are the basis of our current knowledge, and we cannot move forward to make new stuff without knowing the classic.

Costume Dress for Pamina played by by Sarah Tucker in the play called Die Zauberflöte Magic Flute at Arizona Opera

This dress is for Pamina played by by Sarah Tucker in the play called Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

Top layer is made from a sari, and under layers are made of chiffon and organza. Magic Flute was designed by Leslie Bernstein and built by the Arizona Opera costume shop staff. Its designs were inspired by Steampunk fashion and the art of Renee Magritte.

1840’s style ballgown costume for Marie played by Susannah Biller in the play called La Fille du Régiment at Arizona Opera

This dress is for Marie played by Susannah Biller in the play called La Fille du Régiment.

Arizona Opera The Daughter of the Regiment Down Town Phoenix at Phoenix Symphony Hall

Images courtesy of Arizona Opera

This 1840’s style ballgown is made of taffeta and embroidered organdy. Daughter of the Regiment was designed by Kathleen Trott and built by the Arizona Opera costume shop staff.

Both dresses are crafted by talented members of Arizona Opera costume shop staff such as CeCe Sickler (Draper), Victoria Widener (Costume Technician), Kearney Starr (Wardrobe Supervisor), and Becky Giblin (overhire stitcher).

Even though the “appearance” of dresses looks very smilier to real historical dresses, we cannot make the “construction” of the dresses as back then. For example, these dresses have zippers in the back instead of corsets so that they can change the costumes quickly!

This event brought the audience to the “behind-the-scene” part of the opera: workshop. This is a great opportunity for opera lovers to see a whole picture of opera and talented staff working in the back.

Draper CeCe Sickler explaining the process of pattern making for costumes at Arizona Opera

Draper CeCe Sickler explaining the process of pattern making for costumes.

The professional equipment that Arizona Opera costume shop staff at their work

The professional equipment that they work with. Set up very nicely!

Bespoke couture dress designer Lana Gerimovich from Alis Fashion Design talk about inside constraction of dress costumes with Arizona Opera costume shop staff

Lana is talking with colleagues about the inside construction of costumes. Different construction between couture dresses that Lana makes, and costumes that they make.

drawing of the costume image for opera by Arizona Opera costume shop

A drawing of the opera costume image

Fashion designer Lana Gerimovich from Alis Fashion Design and draper CeCei from Arizona Opera costume shop

Draper CeCe and bespoke dress designer Lana Gerimovich. It was our pressure to meet the professionals who work at the behind the scene of opera and share the knowledges we have.

A variety of patterns made for their Arizona Opera costumes

A variety of patterns!

The board of visual display for the process of costume creation by Arizona Oepra

The board of visual display that they work with during the process of creation.

Variety of costume for Opera created by Arizona Opera costume shop

So many different kinds of lovely costumes!

Handmade headpiece collaborated with 3D printer for opera by Arizona Opera costume shop

Beautiful hand-made headpiece. Crescent shaped decoration was made by 3D printer. Collaboration with new technology and craftsmanship.

Kathleen Trott explaining the next Opera play at Art of the Costuming sponsered by Valley Friends

Kathleen explaining the upcoming plan of costumes in the next season

Alis Fashion Design bespoke dress designer Lana Gerimovich with Arizona Opera Costume Shop Manager Kathleen Trott

Arizona Opera Costume Shop Manager Kathleen Trott and Alis Fashion Designer bespoke dress designer Lana Gerimovich

Lana recalls “ I remember the moment when my lovely friend Kathleen told me at the Arizona Opera workshop a year ago that she dreamed to make all the costumes for Arizona Opera by herself and staff members instead of borrowing costumes from other theaters. Now I see how they grow successfully and have created so many different kinds of costumes for Arizona Opera.” 

Arizona Opera Costume Shop made 34 costumes for Magic Flute in house, which we really admire! For upcoming play Daughter of the Regiment, they are making 70 looks designed by Kathleen Trott! It means that they are producing almost all the outfits for this new show! This is a huge amount of work put in by Arizona Opera Costumes Shop! We are so proud as residents of Arizona that Arizona Opera Costumes Shop makes its own quality outfits for their own plays, and Kathleen’s dream came true. Also, we would like to appraise what the organization Valley Friends does to support Arizona Opera by providing quality events to interact with performers, behind-the-scenes workers, and opera lovers. 

Lana smiles “ I cannot wait to volunteer for Arizona Opera Costume Shop. I have been a great friend with Manager Kathleen, and always wanted to give back to the community with my skills. Simply I love Arizona Opera and would like to support them! I cannot wait to watch new show Daughter of the Regiment to see the costumes!” 

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