LONDON — The Royal Opera House in London is in bloom as it readies a new production for its opera stage with a first costume partnership with a fashion house.
The work was composed by Oliver Leith, the Royal Opera House and Guildhall School composer-in-residence; directed by Matt Copson and Anna Morrissey; libretto by Copson, and the 12-person ensemble conducted by Jack Sheen with guest artists GBSR Duo.
The brand created eight costumes for eight members of the ensemble cast in signature Balenciaga silhouettes, including oversize and deconstructed denim pieces; a long furry acid green coat and a shorter one in black; heavy silver chain jewelry, and dark shades.
“Balenciaga was the obvious fit — Demna’s work involves the questioning and distortion of archetypes, the aesthetics of ‘alternative’ and the legacy of the ’90s in a disruptive and poetic way,” said Copson.
“Each character on stage represents a different tribe and our references ranged from the specifics of Mormon backpacks to Seattle teen fashion. We asked ourselves: What do these forms mean to us now and how can we distort these loaded symbols into something poetic?” he added.
The opera took inspiration from the opening shot of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” where it contains product placement.
“A close-up of Converse shoes, politely tapping along to the iconic riff. We knew early on that we had to move away from costuming a period and into something more paradoxical, that implicated us in the present day,” said Copson.