Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Ringlet

All that I can think of right now are quick changes. You know how you're watching live theater, and the character exits and re-enters seconds later in something completely different? Yeah, well, there's a team of trained people backstage in a timed choreographed dance making that happen. The show I'm costuming now, The Legend of the Ring, is an adaptation of the entire Wagner Ring Cycle. That's over 18 hours of opera lopped to 3.5 hours. Each of the performers plays multiple characters, and they are constantly zipping on and offstage in completely different costumes.
These Rhinemaidens, whom I've reimagined as '50s era prom queens, also double as Fricka, Sieglinde, and Brunnhilde.

Jay Hunter Morris, below center, later took on this role at San Francisco Opera and The Met.
One of his quick-changes is so fast, that we drop the curtain and I run onstage to strip him down to undies and re-dress him. There are 38 seconds of music before the curtain rises. No pressure.

There's a similar onstage change for Valentina Osinski, below right, prior to this scene.
My team and I take her from the prom queen dress to this suit and hairstyle, onstage, in less than a minute before the curtain rises. Here's a better shot of her on the left, with Richard Paul Fink (left) as Wotan, and Marie Plette (right) as Freia.

It's thrilling to work with these world-class singers. If you think they sound amazing from the house, you should try watching a show from backstage sometime!