Our theme for July is ‘multi-colour madness’, so it was a really pleasant surprise to find that the opera I was very kindly invited to at Garsington last Thursday was as curiously colourful as they come. The amazing variety of English summer flowers in the stunning grounds paled into insignificance beside the strikingly vivid colours on the stage. The set was in itself a work of art - rather reminiscent of a cubist painting – and the costumes, designed by Francis O’Connor, were a comically creative masterpiece.
As for the opera, it was simply adorable: witty, funny, thought-provoking, charming and one of the most thoroughly enjoyable I have seen. This was the UK premiere of Mirandolina by Martinu, written in the 1950s and first performed in 1959 in Switzerland. According to Safranek, Martinu described his opera as “a light, uncomplicated thing … gay from start to finish.”
The story is based on a work called La locandiera (the mistress of the inn) by 18th century Italian playwright, Goldoni, who has the somewhat unfavourable reputation of being ‘author of between two and five hundred comedies, all with happy endings and all exactly the same’. It’s a wonderfully compelling tale of the beautiful lady proprietor of an inn, the feisty Mirandolina, who has an unfailing ability to charm and win over men. Using her feminine wiles, she even works her magic on the ultimate misogynist, the Cavaliere of Ripafratta (brilliantly performed by Geoffrey Dolton, whose facial expressions alone are worth a trip to this production to see).
The opera notes read ‘The craft of the playwright depends on fashion as much as that of the couturier: in each case some follow and some lead, but both depend on immediate public approval.” Well, this performance certainly got my vote. As did some of the fabulous dresses in the audience, like the colourful one-shouldered creation worn by Minnie, above left (presumably spelt as in Minnie Mouse? Though she doesn’t look in the least bit mouse-like to me).
It's almost as bright as the hot pink and coral outfit I wore to the opera at Grange Park a couple of weeks back (see right). By the way, if you’re looking for something stylish to make you stand out from the opera crowd, might I suggest this vintage Clements Ribeiro hot pink torn silk apron dress from ShopCurious.
I’m so pleased to hear that the talented design-duo are returning to London Fashion Week this year.
Curiculum Vitae Jeffry Zebua
6 months ago