UN AVVERTIMENTO AI GELOSI (2021)
Manuel García’s Un Avvertimento ai Gelosi is an opera buffa set in provincial Italy. Opera buffas are characterized by action that revolves around common people with common problems in order to appeal to the lower classes. Additionally, they often borrow character archetypes from the Italian commedia dell’arte theatre tradition. This story features a farcical plot between Berto, an intensely jealous husband, and his innocent yet flirtatious wife, Sandrina. He suspects her of infidelity with the visiting feudal Lord, Il Conte Ripaverde, and his secretary, the foppish Don Fabio. It is apparent that García follows the opera buffa tradition by employing many similarities in his characters to commedia archetypes, and through the absurd, slapstick action of this opera. Therefore, the costume design concept for this show played up aesthetics of commedia dell’arte in both color and pattern to create a unique world all its own.
I drew on inspiration from historic illustrations of the commedia stock characters- Colombina, Pantalone, Il Capitano, Isabella, Giovane Amoroso, and Tartaglia- as they most closely represented the characters in the opera. I found further inspiration from Russian master oil painter Olga Suvorova’s commedia dell’arte themed painting series. Inspired my design in its palette, pattern layering, and silhouettes. My last major source of inspiration was in photographs and illustrations of mid-Victorian era fancy dress balls, with people dressed in commedia dell’arte themed costumes from various eras such as Cavalier, Georgian, and Renaissance, all coming together to coexist. To ensure the integrity of my design concept, I custom designed and printed twelve fabrics providing each character with a minimum of two custom fabrics, each depicting patterns and colors from my research. Similar patterns, scale, and color combinations related to each character and their relationships, and served to maintain a sense of ensemble cohesiveness in the cacophony of individual colors and patterns.
Produced by UNCSA in the spring 2021, and performed at the Stevens Center in Winston Salem, NC.
Director: Steven LaCosse
Conductor: James Allbritten
Costume Designer: Melissa Thurn
Costume Design Assistant: Maureen Wynne
Scenic Designer: Kevin McBee
Lighting Designer: Max Wurtz
Wig and Makeup Designer: Dylan Silver
Costume Shop Manager: Rebecca Eckes
Crafts Head: Willow Kearns Stanley
Crafts Assistant: Maya Patrick
Drapers: Jenna Anderson, Kjersten Lester-Moratzka, Maria Lupia, Lily Mateus, Karen Milla, Jennifer Smith, Maggie Tennant
First Hands: Hannah Andrews, Nicole Angell, Zoe Gilreath
Stitchers: Liv Alicandri, Rachel Anderson, Anna Burgess, Jemima Firestone-Greville, Diana Haberstick, Marquita Horton, Damarius Kennedy, Abby Maruyama, Kira Miller, Maki Miikura, Madi Pattilo, KC Paulson, Megan Peck, Jen Somers, Maya Trefzger, Will Wharton