Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Opera and Fashion

vintage opera--social scene
Opera.  Even the word sounds uppercrust, elite, sophisticated.  I believe that the connotations of opera-going today allude to these terms.  It is true that the upper classes enjoyed the opera as a sphere to see and be seen, to gossip, as much or more than they enjoyed the music, but even those in lower socio-economic classes attended.  It was the entertainment and social club of its time.  I do enjoy the thought of a 19th century opera house: the women in there beautiful attire, complete with gloves and jewels.  The men in their finest, every bit as elegant as their partners.  The grandeur of the crystal chandeliers, gold filigree and velvet drapes completes the idyllic atmosphere, and backdrop for the players:  the prima-donna, dancers and orchestra.

Today attending the opera remains an elegant affair, even if its social importance has declined.  It has come to be seen as an acquired taste, inaccessable.  I don't think this attitude will change, but I love the opera and the romance associated with it.  I am not just infatuated with the mystique, but with the genius behind the art-form.  The actual talent displayed.  I am afraid I am not much for popular music because I find that so many performers today are manufactured, but in the opera world, only true talents surface.  I don't mean pop-opera sensations either.

Fortunately, the glamour of the opera is as much alive today as ever. The theatricality of the fashion still inspires designers and opera-goers.  I, for one, certainly hope this continues.

Opera in Literature:

Who can forget the conversations
at the opera in Anna Karenina?

When I think of the ultimate novel
with scenes of social opera going, I think
of this one.

Opera In The Movies:
Audrey Hepburn's opera dress in
Love in the Afternoon  1957.  

Ms. Hepburn seems to be at the opera a lot in her movies!  Here she is again
in Funny Face (1957).  This movie is a really beautiful piece of fluff.  Love the music--
it's not opera, but Gershwin will certainly do.

Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier at the opera in That Hamilton Woman (1941).
Phantom of the Opera (2005) 

Opera and Fashion:

Donna Karen opera coat.

Felicity Brown Spring 2012

Felicity Brown Spring 2012

The Best in Opera: (my opinion, of course)

I could easily gush about Maria Callas, Renee fleming, Cecilia Bortolli and on and on...BUT

My personal favorite: Ms. Kathleen Battle.  I fell in
love with her voice in high school; to me, she is
Cover (Kathleen Battle and Jean-Pierre Rampal in Concert:)
One of my favorite albums of Kathleen Battle, here
with Jean-Pierre Rampal (famous flutist).  I love this one
because I used to play flute and I idolize both of these performers.
Seperately they are fantastic, but together they are magic.

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