Tag Archives: Opera

Thamos – King of Egypt Costume

22 Dec

Mozart wrote incidental music, which is similar to the music you’d find in a film score, for a play called Thamos which is set in Egypt. The costume I made for the King of Egypt combines numerous Rococo and Egyptian fashion ideas.

Thamos

Basically Thamos wears a Rococo waistcoat in the traditional Egyptian royalty color of white.

An outtake of Thamos in full costume.

An outtake of Thamos in full costume.

The upper part of the vest is decorated to reflect the linen wrappings found on mummies, but instead of Linen everything in this costume is made out of silk to hearken back to the Rococo when the play was written. Yes, I built the hat, too.

The costume is a mummy themed Rococo waistcoat.

The costume is a mummy themed Rococo waistcoat.

I made the vest slightly smaller than the model to make the front open to reveal the faux tattoo which I drew on him for the images.

The details on the collar are meant to look like linen wrappings.

The details on the collar are meant to look like linen wrappings.

The lining is a white brocade, but as a sneaky detail I added beaded lace to the inner collar. I just thought that having a little something that makes you wonder what’s going on in there would be fun. And unlike my early costumes, this attention to a detail near the face ensures that you can make it out in the final image! Woo!

The inner collar features beaded lace, which you only catch glimpses of.

The inner collar features beaded lace, which you only catch glimpses of.

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Grabmusik – Angel Costume

15 Dec

Grabmusik is a very early work by a young Mozart. It means “Funeral Music” in English, and tells the brief story of a newly departed soul being guided to heaven by an Angel.

I chose to illustrate this short piece early on when I was considering illustrating all of Mozarts works, but this is one of the only non-operatic pieces that got the photo treatment in the end.

The Angel 

The Angel wears a beautifully detailed white corset with numerous bridal style details, as well as an expensive and flowy silk chiffon chemise.

Grabmusik by Tyson Vick

Grabmusik by Tyson Vick (Models: Natasha, Dillan)

Once again, the details of the costume I made do not show up in the final image, which is something I learned to plan around late in my photo taking (I’ve been at this for ten years). However, the corset is made of white and ivory dupioni silk.

Vanessa Genieva Williams models my corset for Etsy.

Vanessa Genieva Williams models my corset for Etsy.

The corset features so many things I got on clearance in the bridal section. There are appliques, frogs, trim and lace. The white and ivory silks, which don’t really show up in these images, alternate, and the fabric over the bust is pleated.

Bridal Corset fully spread out.

Bridal Corset fully spread out.

The bridal trim at the top of the corset is beaded and has sequins which matches the appliques.

Bridal Corset front details.

Bridal Corset front details.

This was the third corset I ever made, and I was playing around with different ways to add detailing to an already existent structure. The corset itself is entirely a Rococo corset, with no alteration, underneath the fancy facade.

Close up of the details, pleating, frogs and applique.

Close up of the details, pleating, frogs and applique.

The boning in the corset is snap steel, and I believe it is actually too heavily boned to be comfortable. The bones have very little give, and so while it supports very well, if the model doesn’t fit exactly into it, it can press uncomfortably on the ribs which is an unwanted effect. The corset is too solidly put together to replace the boning, though, without lots of effort, and so I have a hard time deciding whether to sell this on Etsy or keep it because of all the work I put into it.

Vanessa Genieva Williams in the corset.

Vanessa Genieva Williams in the corset.

You’ll pardon these terrible pictures of this chemise. My camera was having an off day, and the light was low outside and the kitchen light must have also been on because they have a horrible green cast from one side and an awful cyan cast from the other. But, this is the Chemise.

Silk Chemise worn under the corset.

Silk Chemise worn under the corset.

Yikes. I don’t even want to show you this picture, so I’m sorry, but that’s the only one I have of the whole chemise. I need a better one before I try to sell it, because it is so soft and flowy and made from $90/yard fabric. I just know it can find a home if it’s marketed on my Etsy shop correctly.

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Ascanio in Alba – Venus

8 Dec

In the opera Ascanio in Alba, two people get married, and that’s the extent of the plot (which is spread over three hours), but any tension that may appear in the play occurs because the Goddess Venus (Venere) keeps the lovers superficially at bay! In the final photo, you can barely make out the dress worn by Venus (the one with the golden apple), but I’m going to show you what we made here, because otherwise no one will ever know!

Ascanio in Alba, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Ascanio in Alba, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Venus

This costume was the first costume ever made for this project, and since I began taking photos before I had even learned to sew, it was my mother who made this dress directly from a Vogue Pattern! The dress is made from a knit with glitter swirls, but it drapes beautifully and looks very Greco-Roman.

Elizabeth models the dress Venus wore in my photo.

Elizabeth models the dress Venus wore in my photo.

 

The pattern used was Vogue 2881, which I think looks great, and I can highly recommend for looks, but being a Vogue pattern there’s always something indistinct or hazy in the directions.

Vogue Pattern 2881

Vogue Pattern 2881

 

Elizabeth, who you’ll see dancing around in these pictures, was the original model for Venus in a separate photoshoot from the one that was used. This set was scrapped, because as I got better and costuming and photography, I decided to develop a new concept, and shoot in a different state, and that’s why the final photo features a different beautiful model as the Goddess Venus.

 

The dress is fun an flirty, split to the thigh and hangs off of one shoulder.

The dress is fun an flirty, split to the thigh and hangs off of one shoulder.

At the point when this dress was made in my costuming and photography career, I did not know how to buy Jewelry or where to find Jewelry. I’d never even looked for it. So, when I found a second-hand candle holder that looked large and Gaudy, I bought it, broke off the lid and glued some gems to it! It’s funny to look back and realize how little I knew about costuming, but the brooch still looks okay.

The brooch was made from a candle holder.

The brooch was made from a candle holder.

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Ascanio in Alba – Silvia’s Bodice

1 Dec

Ascanio in Alba is an allegorical, mythological wedding opera. All that happens in it is that some people get married and EVERYONE sings about it. Silvia Silvia is the lady who gets married. In my image, I illustrated the happy celebration with all the fun characters from the play. In the end, Silvia’s bodice got lost in the motion blur and fit the model poorly, but the image turned out great!

Ascanio in Alba, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Ascanio in Alba, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

However, the bodice itself is something special as well. Using a slashed silk technique I picked up from the book Fabricate by  Susan Wasinger, I made a Renaissance style bodice with four layers of different colored silk, sewed channels, and slashed them up the center to only the bottom layer,  and then frayed all the edges.

Vanessa Genieva Williams models the bodice.

Vanessa Genieva Williams models the bodice.

I also used clasps for lace, rather than for closure, and leaving a beautiful bright red underlap for a splash of color. The idea for this bodice comes from the film “Virgin Territory” which had costumes designed by Roberto Cavalli, a popular fashion designer.

Bodices designed by Roberto Cavalli for "Virgin Territory"

Bodices designed by Roberto Cavalli for “Virgin Territory”

In the following photos you will see Silvia’s bodice from different angles. While you can’t make it out from the pictures, the silk layer colors are white, ivory, pink and red.

The slashed silk bodice for Silvia.

The slashed silk bodice for Silvia.

The back of the bodice is just plain white silk.

Bodice back.

Bodice back.

This is one of the funnest pieces I have ever made, and I would love to use this technique on another garment in the future.

Vanessa Genieva Williams models the slashed silk bodice.

Vanessa Genieva Williams models the slashed silk bodice.

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Idomeneo – Ilia’s Gown

24 Nov

In the opera Idomeneo, a captive Princess falls in love with the enemy Prince. It’s all very romantic. She is very calm, and loving, and full of tranquil beautiful music. Her name is Ilia.

 

Ilia

When designing her gown, I wanted it to reflect the concept of tranquil waters. It is made from shot silk which is silk with a different colored warp and weft. The silk is also transparent, and underneath I put a layer of gold netting. In real life, when the gown moves, it looks like you are looking into tranquil waters.

Ila's sea inspired gown for my Idomeneo Photos.

Ila’s sea inspired gown for my Idomeneo Photos.

The straps are made of crystal beads, and the high set waist is lined with real pearls.

Bodice detail.

Bodice detail.

The dress buttons up the sides, and each button has a blue gem in the center.

The dress buttons up the side.

The dress buttons up the side.

The bottoms of the skirts are beaded and trimmed. I feel this evokes sea-foam and detritus that washes up on shore.

The layers of netting and silk create a shimmer effect like looking at still waters.

The layers of netting and silk create a shimmer effect like looking at still waters.

If you’d like to read about the model who wore this costume, Chantell, and her lover for sharp objects, read this post!

Chantell gets all stabby, while Bowen observes the Lake in the traditional Lewis & Clark manner.

Chantell gets all stabby, while Bowen observes the Lake in the traditional Lewis & Clark manner.

In the photo below, you can see the button-up side detail.

Chantell with the little girl (Just over the camera) who thought Chantell was a real Princess. Bowen and I.

Chantell as Ilia, holding my camera. On the right I stand with the male model, Bowen.

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Idomeneo – Amphitrite’s Costume

17 Nov

In Idomeneo there is a lengthy chorus celebrating the gods who have guided the military boys home. The gods are seen at sea, also celebrating, and what the chorus describes is generally what I chose to illustrate.

This means the goddess of the sea and wife of Neptune, a goddess named Amphitrite (Am-fit-rit-ee), is seen splashing about. I decided to costume this queen as if the Rococo met the bottom-of-the-sea!

Amphitrite

Model Emma waits around during the shooting of my Idomeneo photo.

Model Emma waits around during the shooting of my Idomeneo photo.

 

The gold part of the gown was meant to look like a crustacean or lobster tail. The blue portion was meant to look like waves cascading down. The whole gown is made of Lamé, a metallic fabric, and seashells.

The Amphitrite gown front and back.

The Amphitrite gown front and back.

The waistline is criss-cross pintucked to add to that shell-fish aesthetic. This whole gown is up for sale on my Etsy as well!

A closer look at the lobster-tail style front.

A closer look at the lobster-tail style front.

All the shells were spray painted gold and glued to the netting. This gown is hand-wash only, and I am pleased to note that I have done so with no ill consequence.

Here's a detail of the netting and seashells.

Here’s a detail of the netting and seashells.

 

Triton

As a bonus, I wanted to show you the matching pants for Triton, whose feet should technically be a split fish-tail, like a double mermaid, but since you don’t see his feet, this is what I made!

The sequins evoke fish scales.

Triton's sequins and seashell pants.

Triton’s sequins and seashell pants.

I hope you will come back next week, or subscribe to my blog to get all the costuming updates!

Idomeneo – Idamante’s Costume

10 Nov

Idomeneo is an opera about a heroic teenage boy who slays a sea monster (Opera scholars might disagree). But that is how I approached Idamante’s costume for my final photo.

The opera takes place in ancient Crete, and so I went for a Gladiator style costume for the character. I made two pieces, an arm guard and a faux-leather skirt, from my own patterns.

Idamante's Costume for my Idomeno Pictures.

Idamante’s Costume from my Idomeno Pictures seen in detail.

During the shoot, the models had a lot of fun, and you can read about it here.

This is Sparta!!!!

Bowen looking all majestic during some down time at the shoot.

I also made some little lace-up boots which you can see in these outtakes, but I honestly don’t remember doing it. My apprentice at the time, Catey, must have done most of the work.

Chantell gets all stabby, while Bowen observes the Lake in the traditional Lewis & Clark manner.

Chantell gets all stabby, while Bowen observes Flathead Lake in the traditional Lewis & Clark manner.

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