The Art Deco movement inspired costume designer Jennifer Irwin’s work for Franz Lehar’s fizzy comic opera.
“The Merry Widow has three acts,” she explained.
“The first one is a cocktail party where there’s lots of waltzing so I went with long dresses and put everyone in long satin gowns that sat well within the black and gold of the set.
“The second act of the show is set at a garden party so I designed daytime dresses, a bit of the Downton Abbey look; all in beautiful chiffons and pastel florals with glamourous jewellery, gloves, garden party hats and lots of beautiful pieces from the period.
“And then in the last act, the set was a mirror with lots of silver so I went with the rich look of velvet for all the women.”
This was Irwin’s first foray into art deco, and she was so entranced by her creations that when she was in the audience, she spent her time “watching the costumes rather than watching the singing and dancing.”
What with Graeme Murphy’s direction and choreography, and West Side Story’s Julie Lea Goodwin and Alexander Lewis as the starring couple, the show should be a dazzler!
Jan 5-16. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. $40-$369+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
By Irina Dunn