Opera Australia costumes dress up for auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 29th June, 2017

Costumes designed for and worn in Opera Australia’s production of “Opera in a Box” – Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers are among those used in a comprehensive range of operas up for the organisation’s Costume & Memorabilia auction over two days from 6pm Friday June 30 and continuing from 10am Saturday July 1 through Leonard Joel at the Opera Centre, 480 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills in Sydney.

The costumes, with a catalogue estimate of $15,000-$25,000, were designed by Susan Benson in 18th century court and peasant outfit style for the 1989 Brian MacDonald production and include principal outfits for the “Duchess of Plaza-Toro” worn by Judy Connelli and “Guiseppe” (Andrew Jones).

The Michael Stennett designed female 19th century ball gown style principal costume for “Violetta”, worn by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in the 1978 Elijah Moshinsky production of La Traviata (Verdi), is another highlight – with a $4000-$6000 catalogue estimate. 

Similar buyer attention is expected for the Roger Kirk designed Edwardian style female principal costume for the 2001 Stuart Maunder production of “Sylvia Varescu”, The Gypsy Princess, worn by Yvonne Kenny.

Another attraction is the three female principal costumes for “Hanna” The Merry Widow (Lehar) in 2004.

Designed by Hugh Coleman for the Simon Phillips production and again performed by Yvonne Kenny, one of the costumes comprises a skirt suit with a black sequin embellished pink brocade jacket over a black skirt.

The second is a bodice and skirt for “Vilja” in hues of purple and teal taffeta with traditional Hungarian style corset and the third costume a floor length black sequined evening gown with pink accents to the neckline in late Victorian style.

Also available among the 619 lots is the principal and chorus costumes for the 1987 Andrew Sinclair production of “Opera in a Box” – Lohengrin (Wagner) – designed by Kenneth Rowell.

They comprise the principal costumes for Elsa and Lohengrin and were worn by several performers including Patrick Donnelly and Lisa Harper-Brown.

Another interesting costume is the Jennie Tate designed male principal for “Pietro Fleville, Andrea Chenier (Giordano) 2001-02, produced by Elke Neidhardt. 

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