Date: October 14, 2012
What: Costume Archival Shoot for The San Francisco Opera
Designed by: Christian LaCroix
When I was about 11 I saw the film version of Romeo & Juliet for the first time on VHS. I remember giggling with my sister over the one scene with partial nudity in it as Juliet scampered away from Romeo. I’m talking about the Franco Zephirelli film that won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Costume Design. The actors were young, babies even – as they portrayed the infamous, star-crossed lovers.
Years later as I went off to college to study literature I found myself once again entranced by Romeo & Juliet. Now I truly have come full circle with this epic love story.
This weekend I had the pleasure of working with The San Francisco Opera costume department to photograph their new production of I Capuleti e I Montecchi (The Capulets and Montagues) by Vincenzo Bellini. Bellini’s version, however is not the classic Shakespearean tale. In Capuleti, we find Romeo and Juliet in the peak of action. The Montagues hate the Capulets, neither will agree to peace. Romeo, desperate for his Juliet sneaks in to try to convince Juliet to elope with him. In this painful, yet hauntingly beautiful score Bellini was able to capture the true emotions behind family loyalty, youth, love, and surrender.
To execute the costumes for this new production, Christian LaCroix took pieces from a variety of costumes and operas at The Munich Opera. This explains the patchwork-like quality to the women’s gowns. Some dresses have gloves hanging off the bottom, the sides, and extra pairs of sleeves. Others a half vest, colored tulle underneath, and brightly colored high heels on their feet. Below you’ll see just a fraction of the costumes worn by the female courtesans as well as some glimpses into the principal artists Joyce DiDonato (Romeo) and Samir Pirgu (Tebaldo). Romeo and Tebaldo put on a show rough-housing for the camera on Sunday. Check out all the mayhem and majesty of Christian LaCroix’s Capuleti designs:
To those who search for meaning in their work, always keep searching until you find what you’re looking for. Experiences like this are worth the wait.
Ciao! Bravi tutti to the cast and crew of Capuleti!