Wednesday 8 June 2011

    Inspired by the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Hansel and Gretel, a fashion fairy tale of white frocks unfolds.


    In Vogue magazine’s December 2009 interpretation of the Met’s production,

    Hansel and Gretel

    fry a Marc Jacobs clad wicked witch, Lady GaGa.

    Starring actor Andrew Garfield and model Lily Cole, renowned photographer Annie Leibowitz has captured Grace Coddington’s reinterpretation of a classic fable…

    I’m Famished Brother and sister are left at home alone and hungry by their stepmother. With not a morsel to eat, they go to pick berries in an enchanted forest.   Dolce & Gabbana cream silk-and-tulle dress.

    Far From Home They venture out to hunt for wild strawberries in the woods, where Gretel’s lily-white frock shines against the dark foliage of the Tree-men. Before long, though, they’re hopelessly lost.  Tree-men costumes courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera. Dior pleated silk-chiffon dress.

    Golden Slumber Having lost their way, children encounter strange and magical creatures, one of which lulls them: The Sandman (played here by Sasha Cooke, who has appeared in the Met’s production) sprinkles magic dust onto the frightened children, who fall into a deep sleep and dream about a banquet served by a fish maîtred’.   Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière wool-silk jacket. Chloé flats. Sandman and fish maître d’ costumes courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera.

    Wicked Waking up, Hansel and Gretel are led by a magic bird to a little house in the forest, made of cake and candy. However, the house belongs to an evil witch (portrayed here by Lady Gaga) who wishes to fatten and eat the children. Gretel looks sweet enough to eat in a poufy confection. But it’s Hansel the evil one wants to fatten up and feast on. On Lady Gaga: Marc Jacobs satin bra, slip silk blouse, and ruffled bloomer shorts. On Cole: Yves Saint Laurent embroidered silk poplin dress. Lady Gaga’s wig created by Julien D’Ys.

    Feed the Flames Before the witch can cook Hansel and Gretel—whoosh—they push her into the oven and shut the door. From left: Oscar de la Renta bouclé tweed-and-chiffon dress. Marc Jacobs bonded-lamé belted jacket.

    The Witch Is Dead!  The children (here, the Junior Choristers of Grace Church in New York City) baked into gingerbread by the hag come back to life, and celebrate, singing together. On returning home, the children find that their wicked stepmother has gone. A joyful reunion with their father and their new wealth gives the story a happy ending.  Nina Ricci silk satin pleated dress. Chloé flats.

    Check out the video for behind the scene tidbits. According to the creative director, Grace Coddington

    Lady Gaga arrived at Vogue to discuss the shoot wearing a trailing white chiffon Galliano goddess gown with a Philip Treacy headdress that spelled VOGUE in clipped white feathers. The following day, she came to see Creative Director Grace Coddington in a little black dress with a flaming-red wig, and later appeared on location, as Coddington recalls, “stark naked except for her white rubber raincoat and some very, very high heels!” She then promptly threw herself in the mud at Leibovitz’s feet.”Gaga was so bubbly and chatty and enthusiastic and excited to be alive,” says Coddington. “She was up for anything.” - Excerpt from the December 09 issue of Vogue

    Inspired by Richard Jones’s production of the 1893 Engelbert Humperdinck opera  this story features:

    Fashion Editor, Grace Coddington; hair, Julien D’Ys, using Mokuba Paris Ribbon; makeup, Gucci Westman for Revlon; production design, Mary Howard. Metropolitan Opera costumes designed by John Macfarlane.

    In Vogue magazine’s December 2009 issue, renowned photographer Annie Leibowitz captures the images to go along with Grace Coddington’s reinterpretation of a classic fable..

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    Thursday 14 October 2010

    Adieu La Stupenda


    La Stupenda {The Stunning One}, legendary operatic soprano

    Dame Joan Sutherland takes a final bow.

    “Joan Sutherland,

    a large-boned, helmet-haired, high-singing Australian soprano

    with a perfect trill died at age 83 in Switzerland, her refuge after decades of singing unhinged maidens,

    enraged priestesses, and happy-go-lucky waifs.”

    Manuela Hoelterhoff

    The diva was one of the greatest sopranos of her, or any other, age.

    “La Stupenda” led the renaissance of Italian bel canto and French romantic operas,

    reviving roles of extraordinary difficulty.

    She was “the voice of the century”,

    according to Luciano Pavarotti, the late, great Italian tenor.

    The Spanish diva Montserrat Caballe said her voice was like heaven.

    In 1958, at the Royal Opera House, she “stopped the show” with a staggering performance of ”Let the Bright Seraphim” complete with exultant high D, from Handel’s Samson, earning a ten minute-long standing ovation from the Covent Garden audience. In 1959, she was invited to sing Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House.  It was a breakthrough for Sutherland’s career, and, upon the completion of the famous Mad Scene, she had become a star.

    was awho’s debut as Lucia di Lamermoor on stage at London’s Covent Garden was met with such praise and acclaim, it would be an understatement to say she brought the house down.

    In 1960, she recorded the album The Art of the Prima Donna, which remains today one of the most recommended opera albums ever recorded. The album, a collection consisting mainly of coloratura arias, displays her seemingly effortless coloratura ability, high notes and opulent tones, as well as her exemplary trill.

    By the beginning of the 1960s, Sutherland had already established a reputation as a diva with a voice out of the ordinary. In 1960, she sang a superb Alcina at La Fenice, Venice, where she was nicknamed La Stupenda. Sutherland would soon be praised as La Stupenda in newspapers around the world.

    Before Dame Joan and the vastly different Maria Callas (1923-1977 ) came to prominence , many of these Bel Canto operas had been neglected for a century or more because of a lack of singers able to do them justice.  Sutherland was sometimes criticized for concentrating on beauty of sound and  spectaculartechnique at the expense of clear diction and dramatic intensity, but she worked hard to improve her diction and  her acting skills.

    She retired in 1990 with a final performance at the Sydney Opera House, ending the night with “Home, Sweet Home”, a tribute to her native land.

    Dame Joan Sutherland 1926-2010

    Dame Joan Sutherland passed away Sunday at ther home in Les Avants, near Geneva. She was 83.

    Throughout her career, Sutherland played a covetable string of some of the preeminent bel canto, female operatic roles.

    Among her most famous parts were the hapless Scottish girl Lucy in Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor ,the vengeful Druid priestess Norma in Bellini’s opera of the same name, the charming Tomboy Marie in Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment, Lakme the daughter of a Brahmin priest in India  in the opera of that name by French composer Leo Delibes, the Parisian courtesan Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, and Gilda, hapless daughter of the hunchback court jester Rigoletto.

    Despite her glamorous career, Dame Joan was an unpretentious , amiable and down-to-earth lady who enjoyed being a homebody,knitting and gardening . She wil go down in operatic history as one of the greatest.  Enjoy these memories of La Stupenda.

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