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Linda di Chamounix
by
Gaetano Donizetti


Fletcher Opera Foundation
University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Winter, 2022

Assistant Costume Designers
Zoe Gilreath
Meghan Peck
Some costume pieces courtesy of Sarasota Opera

The opera "Linda di Chamounix" tells the story of a simple young woman whose innocence is shattered by the complexities of life. 

 

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References:

1.  Graziella by Jules Joseph Lafebvre

2. A Peasant Girl by Charles Sprague Pearce

Act I - Autumn in Chamounix, 1860

Although the opera is billed as a melodrama, the plot-line carries the heft of reality. 

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References:

1. A Peasant of the Moors by L. Rousseau

2. Artist unknown

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The male principals (in whose hands Linda’s fate rests) appear in dark tones - her father is in deep browns, the Prefect is in grays, and the Marquis is in blacks.

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References:

1. Portrait of Count Robert de Montesquiou by  Giovanni Boldini

2. 1867-1868 Suit, Metropolitan Museum of Art

3. Man with Monocle by Alice Pike Barney

References:

The Mode in Costume by Turner Wilcox

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Chorus - Base Costumes

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Designs were inspired by the works of Jean-Francois Millet.  The palette was inspired by  late summer vegetables: eggplant, bell pepper, pumpkin, and cucumber tones in period textiles of wool, cotton, linen, silk, leather, and lace.

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References:

1. The Goose Girl by Jean-Francois Millet

2. Woman Baking Bread by Jean-Francois Millet

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A large cast was planned  in celebration of the Fletcher Opera Institute’s 20th Anniversary.  Costume pieces were acquired from multiple sources, including builds,  and “looks” were pre-assembled prior to fittings.

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Act I Chorus Overlays

The opera opens with the villagers en route to church. White linen overlays, delicately embellished with bits of lace, gave a monochromatic frivolity and innocence to Act I. 

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Act II - Winter in Paris, 1860

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Having left the warm security of her village, Linda finds herself in the austere opulence of a fashionable Parisienne salon.  Blues, blacks, and grays in silks, satins, and refined wools punctuate the tone of the scene.  

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Act III - Spring in Chamounix, 1861

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In Paris, Linda learns her lover is betrothed to a countess, the Marquis’ pursuit turns predatory, and her father disowns her. Driven half-mad with distress, she returns to her village having lost her youthful luster and innocence.

Act III Overlays

By Act III, the villagers’ overlays have become complex French country motifs originated from middle eastern textiles.  Linda’s world is a more complex place but perhaps more authentic. 

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Reference:

The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet

The finale promises a life of true love and fully grounded joy, and the opera ends in an explosion of warm color.

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