Audiences love the costumes in opera performances but have no idea how complex they have to be. The wealthiest opera houses have major costume production facilities, but smaller organizations rent costumes from specialized costume companies. All costumes must be designed to meet the demands of any opera production, including different sized singers, and very quick costume changes. Major and minor repairs may be required, and after the final performance everything has to be cleaned and then packed for return to the owner.
Anna Constantz, a consummate costume professional, recently retired after forty-odd years at Opera Southwest (OSW). She also worked in opera productions at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Expert in the special demands of opera costuming, she proved herself adaptable when facing the constraints of the small budgets characteristic of regional theater. A master of improvisation with a ‘can-do’ attitude, she entertains you with anecdotes of her challenges and triumphs at OSW.