Anything for a tenor? Royal Opera House to hold costume sale

Suits, gowns and a collection of costumes derided by a critic as like 'an accident in a glam-rock disco' are among items for sale

There will be modern suits from a recent Cosi Fan Tutte; statement evening gowns such as Angelika Kirchschlager's 1930s-style red dress from Pelléas and Mélisande; and, for the adventurous, Juan Diego Flórez's black leather number from Matilde di Shabran.

The Royal Opera House is to stage a sale of more than 1,500 of its costumes from 14 operas and one ballet.

Mal Barton, head of the company's costume workroom, said the sale was necessary because a football pitch-sized warehouse in Aberdare was simply "fit to bursting".

She added: "We have these sales every now and again when we are full because of course we add to our rep every year and we have to clear space."

There will be something for most tastes, whether buyers are looking for medieval fancy dress, a suit for work or a costume that still bears the label of singers such as Kirchschlager, Simon Keenlyside or Gerald Finley.

All the costumes come from what are known as dead productions: they will not be done again or, in the case of Jonathan Miller's Cosi Fan Tutte, must be done in costumes that are of the moment.

The only ballet costumes will be from Natalia Makarova's 2003 The Sleeping Beauty, although do not expect tutus as these are normally refurbished.

The oldest costumes will come from Luchino Visconti's 1958 version of Verdi's Don Carlos, which had Jon Vickers in the title role.

Others come from a Maria Bjornson-designed Katya Kabanova and from Carl Nielsen's Maskarade, in which Marie-Jeanne Lecca's costumes were described by one critic as like "a terrible accident in a glam-rock disco".

Barton said prices would range from as little as £20 for a shirt up to £500 for a full costume, with Flórez's costume as Corradino in Mathilde di Shabran having one of the highest price tags.

Previous sales have been held at the opera house itself and this will be the first at the company's new production workshop in Purfleet, Essex. All money goes into ROH coffers and the sale will be held over the weekend of 24-25 September.

Contributor

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

The Royal Opera House's dotty viral marketing campaign

It's called Danny Knows Best, and it's a fake online reality TV show with Jerry Springer-style fights based on ballet and opera plots. No, really

Charlotte Higgins

16, Nov, 2010 @10:25 PM

Article image
Professional dancers ‘paid less than box office assistants’ at Royal Opera House
Low pay for freelance actors and dancers urgently needs addressing, says Equity performers’ union

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

10, Nov, 2014 @5:19 PM

Article image
Threat to plan for Royal Opera House in the north

Lowry centre trustee claims project is 'bad for Manchester, bad for arts and bad for the taxpayer'

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

24, Jun, 2009 @11:05 PM

Article image
Royal Opera to serve up opera of Buñuel's surreal dinner party in 2017
Thomas Adès’s opera of Exterminating Angel among new season highlights, as well as Anna Netrebko tackling Norma and Jonas Kaufmann singing Otello

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

06, Apr, 2016 @2:07 PM

Article image
Homeless performers take over Royal Opera House

With One Voice, part of London 2012 festival, marks first time homeless people have been part of Olympic celebrations

Charlotte Higgins, chief arts writer

02, Jul, 2012 @6:26 PM

Article image
Royal Opera music director rails at young opera stars' 'weakness'
Antonio Pappano claims that 'they are weaker in their bodies or don't care' and are too ready to pull out of productions

Maev Kennedy

13, Mar, 2013 @5:55 PM

Article image
The Marriage of Figaro returns to Royal Opera House with a twist
Male choice of Kangmin Justin Kim for role of Cherubino is a first in opera house’s history

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

28, Jun, 2019 @12:51 PM

Article image
To boo or not to boo? Royal Opera music chief defends vocal crowds
Sir Antonio Pappano says while latest trend of booing villains can be fun, calling out a bad performance is a step too far

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

05, Apr, 2017 @3:07 PM

Article image
Royal Opera House hosts free event for troops
Venue dedicates a day to bring opera and ballet to armed forces in support of charity

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

11, Jan, 2010 @4:53 PM

Article image
One female conductor 'not acceptable ratio', admits Royal Opera House
Company vows to do better as Ariane Matiakh only woman on list for main stage in 2019-20

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

14, May, 2019 @2:04 PM