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Episode 505: A Night at the Opera
Costumes
Beaufiful Fabric
For many of us enjoying Opera often leaves a song in our heart for a lifetime. For our eyes, it is all about the costumes we see on stage. The head costume designer for the Canadian Opera Company, Sandra Corazza is full of insider information, perfect for when you're planning an evening where costumes play a role.

According to Sandra, it can be well worth the effort creating your own costume. As examples, she pointed out a few costumes, which are being made as the Canadian Opera Company gears up for its next season. From an avant-garde lady's ball gown with asymmetrical lines and remarkable detail to a blue satin robe with a beautiful trim, the level of creative difficulty varies from costume to costume.

At the Canadian Opera Company a costume originates with drawings, then the selection of materials that reflect the period with which you're working. The director and the designer come up with their vision of the show, and then they present it to the teams who create the costumes. Strikingly beautiful, dramatic costumes don't come easy. Upon close examination of a piece such as a Baron's costume, the combination of gold fabric, red velvet, appliqué on the back, and a silk underside, you begin to understand the full challenge of making a great costume.

Sandra explains how the creator often goes to a library, does some research, then starts hunting for supplies in vintage clothing shops, fabric and upholstery stores, ethnic areas and so on. You can pick up a coat at a used clothing store, hack off the collar, add some trim and completely transform it. If you don't have a dressmaker's form, you could buy a gown at a second hand store and add things onto it. The point is to become a hunter of-sorts, keeping your eyes open.

Now that we've opened the curtains on the Canadian Opera Company and its costumes, we hope that you will be up to the challenge of creating your own masterpiece!

Special Thanks to: Sandra Corazza, Canadian Opera Company, Toronto, ON, (416) 363-6671