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


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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One Response to “Ascanio in Alba – Venus”

  1. Roo Bookaroo December 8, 2014 at 1:18 am #


    The more so that I have been listening to the Philips/Leopold Hager magnificent version of “Ascanio” every day for now 2 full months, and, in my Amazon review, I have written the most extensive analysis of the opera published anywhere.

    First I have to correct your own description. The opera is not devoted to the wedding proper, which happens only in the last scene, and only as a blessing by Venus.
    The whole opera is occupied by the SEARCH and COURTSHIP​ of the future bride, Silvia, by Ascanio, who has been commanded by Venus, his mother, to remain incognito. It’s a search marked by misunderstandings and hide-and-seek manoeuvers.

    Second Venus, certainly very beautiful, is still the MOTHER of Ascanio, and more a goddess of majesty (in the opera itself) than a procurer of love (which in the opera is a task left to “Amor”, a Cupid who is mentioned but does not appear independently on stage, and performs his task by having Ascanio’s figure appear in Silvia’s dream).

    Also don’t forget that Venus is meant to describe the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa, a dour and formidable lady, who also is the one who commissioned 15-year old Mozart to write a festive “Serenata” for the imperial wedding. So here Venus is NOT acting as an emblem of sex appeal, but of imperial majesty who makes everything happen, i.e. a real powerful goddess who controls the whole world, as is explicitly sung in the No. 33 final chorus: “Alma dea, tutto il mondo governa” — “Divine spirit, you reign over the whole world”.

    The sexy woman is Silvia, who is also meant to be described as chaste (since the whole purpose of Ascanio’s commanded incognito is to allow him to “test” her virtue) but irresistibly attractive to Ascanio.

    So, whatever you conceive, there MUST be a marked difference in looks and dress between Venus and Silvia. Silvia is meant to represent the future bride, Maria Beatrice d’Este, Princess of Modena, who was 19 at the time, same age as her bridegroom, Archduke Ferdinand von Habsburg.
    The dress you’re showing here seems to me to be more apt for Silvia than Venus.
    Now you can shoot me.

    Cordially yours
    Dec. 8, 2014

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