MARTHA MANN’S COSTUMES FOR“MARRIAGE OF FIGARO”
Bespoke congratulates Martha Mann on herrecent Dora Mavor Moore Award or OutstandingOriginal Costume Design. The Doras are presentedannually by Toronto Alliance or the PerormingArts in recognition o outstanding work in theatre,dance, and opera. Mann received the prestigiousaward or her work on Opera Atelier’s “Marriage o Figaro”, her debut show or the company. Atelier isa unique Toronto based opera company, specializingin Baroque operas. The company combines opera,ballet, and theatre elements rom the 17th and 18thcentury presenting them with a theatricality thatresonates with a modern audience.Mozart’s “Figaro” is a comic tale o indelity, deception, and ultimately orgiveness and love, in whichthe servants outsmart their betters with subterugeand cunning. Mann’s whimsical designs highlightthe Comedia Dell’Arte elements, echoing the originalperiod beautiully. This opera lends itsel to thevibrant colour and lavish embellishment so evocative o the Baroque period and Mann’s costumescapture the eervescent quality o Mozart’s operawith a particular emphasis on period detail. Stripedsilks, brocades and some newer abrics all meet tocreate a lush palette o textures or the period silhouettes, bringing a bygone era to lie on stage.Mann’s illustrious career has spanned severaldecades encompassing lm, television, theatre andopera. Considered one o Canada’s premier costumedesigners, her work has beenan inspiration to many youngdesigners. I recently had theopportunity to speak to herabout her experience Atelier’s“Marriage o Figaro”.
This particular production is actually very, very latein the Baroque period, and the design reected that.Atelier is beginning to branch out somewhat romthe Baroque strictures. “Figaro” was less amboyantand somewhat more realistic in its aesthetic, andI think that’s why they approached me to do thedesign.While working on the latest installmento BeSpoke, I have to admit I’m in aweo the sheer talent and diversity o our membership. CAFTCAD oers thecostume community a vehicle to cometogether or the greater good o ourcrat and our shared interests. The question has changed rom “Whatis CAFTCAD?” to “Why should I join?” O course being in the nucleus, it’s easyto ramble on about the many reasonswhy:Being part o a positive and denedalliance o Canadian costumers; communicating challenges and triumph inorums with ellow members; learningat one o the Catcademy weekends,whether one is a seasoned costumeror a student at Ryerson; gaining insightinto personal creative processes; networking, raising one’s prole in thevarious public avenues that CAFTCADoers; the website; the newsletter; thebiannual Movie Wardrobe Sales and, o course, the parties.For me, CAFTCAD represents developing my skills, some o which havenothing to do with costume directly,but the cosmos always nds a wayto bring it orward to my daytodaylie. I’m proud to still be learning andgrowing and, to coin a phrase, that is‘Priceless’.
“Marriage o Figaro” began its theatrical lie as a play. Set toMozart’s dazzling music, it lives on as a great opera. It has a wonderul character basedstory and is more realistic less ridiculousthan operas tend to be. Also Marshall (Pynkoski, the director)had a very clear vision or the style o the production. He madeinteresting changes to the accepted conventions. For example,the chorus is usually portrayed as “happy peasants” that work onthe land, but in Atelier’s production, they were servants in thepalace and dressed accordingly. This lead to a unity o look thatis not generally seen in “Figaro”.
Well my avorite part o any production is always when it lookson stage like it did in my head! As or a avorite costume, it’salmost impossible to choose, but I’ve always loved characterclothing. Characters like the gardener, who is on stage or onlya ew brie moments throughout the opera, oer the chance tohave some un with the detail o the costume. I also enjoyed thiscostume because I did much o the breakdown mysel.
Because it’s an operaballet, the dancers are equally as importantas the singers. This is very unique, as most opera companiessimply cut the music which was originally written or the dancers,or use it as scene change music, but do not include dancers intheir production. In “Figaro” the dancers aorded me a greatopportunity to underscore that the opera is set in Spain. Duringthe late 18th century, Spanish nobles dressed very much in theFrench and Italian style, so it was difcult to show the uniqueSpanish style. For Atelier’s production, the ballet corps were castas a troupe o Spanish dancers in the employ o Count Almaviva. This was a common practice in those days. Perorming troupes,dancers, actors, musicians and the like, were kept on retainer bywealthy patrons and they would perorm at dinners and specialevents. Through the dancers, we were not only able to revealthe country the story takes place in, but echo the conventionso late 18th century arts culture, as Mozart himsel would havehad a wealthy patron or whom he composed and perormedon a regular basis....CONTINUE READING ON INSIDE BACK COVER
Laurie Drew, Costume DesignerMichael Ground, Costume DesignerPeter Olczak, Costume DesignerAlexis Honce, StylistMarie Grogan Hales, Asst DesignerJanet Cavanagh, Asst DesignerLisa D’Arcy, Truck/ SetMartino Nguyen Designs, CISFreda’s, Business MemberBelita Belle, Business Member
BY JENNIFER BUNT
, LAURIE DREWLORI GARDNER, MELLISSA STEWARTSILVANA SACCO, JENNIFER BUNT
KRISTEN O’REILLY - CO-CHAIR
LOREEN LIGHTFOOT COCHAIRJOANNA SYROKOMLA TAMIYO TOMIHIRO COPY EDITORLUIS SEQUEIRA MANAGING EDITORJOSEPH EIGER ART DIRECTOR