The first draft of the text to my photo book is complete. If you are, or know, a Mozartian in Academia who might be interested in reading my book and doing a fact check on the information I’ve written, please let me know. I hope to start doing the layout of the book in the next month or so. The book features one short essay on every opera Mozart set to music, and is from the perspective of a fan-boy rather than a scholar — but I’d still like all the facts to be correct! You can expect some humorous observations, anecdotes about the operas and quotes from Mozart about the music!
Numerous tenors populate the cast of Idomeneo, including Arbace, confidant of the King, and the High Priest of Neptune. Catey and I created these costumes continuing with our blue theme.
I wanted Arbace to look regal, as he is the King’s confidant. One of the costumes that inspired me was King Joffrey’s wedding garment from A Game of Thrones which features a high collar and prominent sash.
We used a blue suede for the coat, which is double breasted.
The sleeves are curved and have large cuffs. The sash is a sheer textured fabric with a metallic mesh underneath to capture different light effects.
The High Priest also has a blue outfit. He wears a blue robe with very textured cuffs and cowl that drapes over his seashell hat.
This outfit was very successful in my opinion. Each piece looks priestly separately, and together makes a very successful priest costume. The actor, Jess, also has a magnificent posture, which makes him seem just as important as he should — being a High Priest of Neptune.
His cowl is very textured. Texture is the best equipment you can use in stage costumes, I think.
Below you can see Miguel Olivas perform with the dejected chorus at a rehearsal of the opera in full costume as Arbace:
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Somehow I managed to get through this thing without any pictures of Idamante alone.
His costume is a navy blue linen. The actor, Brett, is incredibly tall, and the first time Catey and I made his costume, it was like a mini-skirt. I have pictures of the making of that costume, but that wasn’t the costume he wore as we had to go remake it with a longer hem.
Below you can see Idamante’s outfit more clearly… lol. I jokes. That’s just a picture of him nearly getting his head chopped off!
But if you watch the video of Brett performing “Non temer amato bene” you will get to see his costume, fancy belt and cape in action! Check it out below:
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The opera Idomeneo features many things — many tenors, many sea monster deaths and many princesses. This post consists of two rival princesses, Ilia and Elettra, and the costumes Catey and I made for them in the University of Montana’s production.
Ilia wears a beautiful green-blue silk/metal blend. The fabric is the second most expensive fabric in the opera, fitting her station as a princess. I only got one before picture — the one where the fabric was just lying around, so you’ll have to imagine how it was put together!
The dress was made to be worn three different ways, but during the production it seemed to settle on the one seen in these pictures. The dress is soft and light to reflect the character of the princess, who is the romantic lead of the play.
You can view Ilia’s dress wafting around in the video below:
Elettra, the rival princess, is a visitor to Crete. She is alternately snubbed and ignored by the entirety of the cast, with a few bones thrown her way — mainly by Idomeneo and Ilia. She wants to marry prince Idamante, but generally just gets crazier and crazier. I wanted her to stand apart from the rest of the characters in both color scheme and dress shape. Each time she comes on stage her dress changes a little.
I did not get any images of the creation of this dress because it took a lot of thought. It has around 13 yards of fabric in it, a gold metallic underskirt with gold netting overlay that flows in a train behind her.
Some images of her moving can be seen below. The effect was very beautiful.
There is a hoop under her skirt to give some volume to the many gold layers. Watching her rise and fall was very fun.
Below you can see a video of Elettra’s dress in action:
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The lead character of the opera “Idomeneo” by Mozart is the King of Crete, Idomeneo. When Catey and I were asked to costume this opera, it was important to give Idomeneo a Kingly look.
I based my basic concept for the lead costume off of the original costume from the first performance of the opera back when Mozart wrote it:
When Idomeneo first washes up on shore, something that happens to people a lot in this play, I wanted to evoke a wet feel. There wasn’t a large budget for much set design, so I took a very textured gold fabric and overlayed a sheer sparkling blue on top to express coming out of the sea.
The costume can be seen on stage below as Idomeneo confronts the specter of the person he has vowed to kill, a specter which haunts him.
When he returns home to his throne, he dons his coat, cape and armor.
The coat is one of the two most expensive fabrics in the opera. I once attended a play of cobbled together costumes where the monarch was wearing polyester (because someone thought it looked shiny, and therefore rich, or something) and the poor people were wearing silk, linen and cotton that had been distressed (so it looked shabby?) I decided to avoid the mistake of costuming the richest person in the cheapest fabric, so here you go, Idomeneo, at $35/yd, this coat is the richest piece in the opera.
The coat is a standard Rococo cut, like a pirate frock coat. If lifted from the bottom front over the top of the head, it creates a full circle of fabric.
Catey and I did not manage to line up all of the diamond pattern at the seams, but what you gonna do?
We had to travel a few times to the University to take measurements of the entire cast. I also returned later to try some things on the actors.
Below you can see images from the first and final fittings.
We also did not have the budget for real armor, so a costume breastplate was used.
I was quite pleased with the way Idomeneo’s costume looked on stage. It was regal, evoked tradition, and seemed to help the actor, Ben, get into character.
Below you can watch a video from a dress rehearsal of Ben Fox in full costume as Idomeneo!
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I disappeared from blogging for a while recently. Partially this was because I ran out of costumes to yammer on about, but the main reason is that I was busy costuming Mozart’s opera “Idomeneo” for the University of Montana with my costuming partner Catey Lockhart.
The director of the opera, Anne Basinski, has been following this blog for awhile, and she wrote to me asking if I’d participate in the University’s production of Idomeneo. I said I would do it if Catey helped, and Catey agreed! So we created costumes for six leads.
The opera, ostensibly about a giant sea monster attack where a thousand people die of vomiting black tar, was put on by the students at the University of Montana. Many of the leads are graduate students. Idomeneo features two princesses, numerous cast members washing up on shore and many tenors. Sometimes tenors washing up on shore!
This year the budget was small, and nearly the entire budget was devoted to these costumes. The director wanted them to stand out and to evoke the sea, in many differing shades of blue, except for the visiting princess, Elettra, who is an outsider, which we reflected in her color scheme of gold and red.
The costumes of the chorus were selected from the opera of the previous year, which had many dancers and choristers. For Idomeneo, shades of blue and sea colors were chosen for all the chorus members.
The effect I was going for was to evoke the original production’s mix of 1700s and the ancient world.
In the next few days, I will be posting about how Catey and I made the costumes!
Go Behind the Scenes with the Costume Sketches and Concept Art of Tyson Vick’s Photographic Mozart Illustrations2 Feb
Whenever I take photos with big concepts, I start with concept art and costume sketches. Usually these aren’t so detailed that someone else can interpret them, but they are detailed enough for me to remember what I feel the need to include in an image. There are three types of art I can potentially do in order to help conceive my vision.
1. Costume Sketches
2. Concept Art
I use these three types of art to help me develop my ideas into costumes, find models and locations and compose images.
First up is a set of thumbnails I drew up for my illustrations of Ascanio in Alba. Interestingly, while I did photograph these things, I did not use any of these ideas in my final photograph.
Next is a sketch for Fiordiligi’s costume from the opera “Cosi Fan Tutte”. This character dresses up in her boyfriends military uniform.
Der Stein der Weisen was a fun opera to bring to life through illustration. Set in a fantastical Asian world, there was a lot to play with.
My genie is based off of Buddha and the maidens vying for his bird’s attention were drawn from Chinese inspiration.
The thumbnail below is followed by the image I produced.
Compare the thumbnail above to the finished image below to see how closely my concepts are followed.
Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots didn’t have such a big concept process, I only needed the thumbnail to get an idea of what I wanted to get out of the final picture.
You can compare the thumbnail above to the finished image below.
Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail was costumed out of clothes found in my friend and fellow costumer Camille’s closest. I thought about all the pieces she had available, and then combined them on paper as seen below.
Below you can see some of these costumes in the finished image.
The Magic Flute is an opera I have extensively illustrated. When I first heard it, I was inspired to fill an entire sketchbook.
But when I decided to use photography to bring these ideas to life, I did not know anything about costuming. So, I started petty small. I would probably go bigger today, especially with the Queen of the Night.
My costume ideas of Tamino and the Queen of the Night were based on what I could realistically make at the time.
Tamino’s outfit is influenced heavily by Japanese history and video game costumes.
Below you can see the outfit created from the above design.
Papageno was always meant to be a sort of bird version of a faun in my final image. I based his tattoos and look of of the Egyptian art of the Ba Spirit. A half-bird/half person creature represent a person’s soul.
Papageno was brought to life by Jon Sollee in the image below.
My Don Giovanni costume sketches were fairly blank, mostly focusing on shape.
In the end, Don Giovanni got a much more complicated white doublet, but the same cut still applies.
My thumbnails for Don Giovanni, below.
A set of Il Sogno di Scipione thumbnails.
Don Pippo of L’oca del Cairo and Lucio Silla, of Lucio Silla, costume sketches.
Compare the Lucio Silla Sketch to the final image.
La Finta Semplice was originally meant to feature five or so models, but they kept dropping out. Below was my last minute attempt to create some costumes that could be pulled from what I already owned.
The Marriage of Figaro photos were inspired by the image below, something I created after first hearing the opera a decade ago.
The Marriage of Figaro photos involved so many models and stylists, that I needed a thorough map of thumbnails to keep them straight.
I used the page below to keep track of which photos I had taken on the day.
Compare the middle sketch above to the final image below.
For Mitridate, I based Aspasia’s outfit’s off of Historically accurate garb.
Farnace was also based off of History, but with a fantastical tattoo addition.
Compare the costume sketch above to the final costume below. I regret selling that cool pirate belt holding his cape up.
Finally, I end with the costume sketches for Zaide, another set of costumes pulled from my friend Camille’s closet.
I hope you enjoyed viewing all this concept artwork! I have much, much more, but none of it is scanned.
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Thanks for reading!