|A sneak peek of The Marriage of Figaro costumes hanging in Central City Opera's Cast House dressing rooms with designer Susan Kulkarni|
Not only is it her first time living in the United States, but it's also the first time she's costume designing a major full-length opera. But don't let all the firsts fool you; Kulkarni is a seasoned and versatile designer. Her website boasts an impressive amount of experience in theatre, dance, film, and television for such a fresh-faced artist. Opera is just the next project on Kulkarni's list of theatrical mediums to conquer.
|Costume Designer Susan Kulkarni|
Does this maid's outfit remind you of any popular television show? Stay tuned!
Kulkarni has designed upwards of 60 costumes for The Marriage of Figaro, opening on June 28 at the Central City Opera House. Costume designers often yearn to create each dress, undergarment, and accessory from scratch in order to align a unified composition. More often, however, time and money get in the way. "It always comes down to budget," Kulkarni said. "It can cost $1,000 just to make a jacket. It's an expensive business." Instead of building each piece, designers frequently borrow costumes from other companies and then rework them. Luckily for Kulkarni (and Central City Opera), many of this show's costumes will be borrowed from the hit British television show Downton Abbey.
|Kulkarni's costume sketch for Susannah in Act I, The Marriage of Figaro|
|Costume sketch of the Count|
Though she has taken on other projects since Downton Abbey, Kulkarni remains proud of the show's enduring success even here in the States. "In England, if you say [Downton Abbey] everyone knows what it is, and it feels like it's the same here. [Americans] appreciate period dramas; it's great that it's been embraced." Fortunately, The Marriage of Figaro is another period piece that will flaunt Kulkarni's detailed design. Talevi has decided to set the show in 1920s antebellum Spain. This allows Kulkarni to dabble with glitzy flapper costumes and unadorned servant ones alike, reflecting a time in Spain when some embraced bobbed hair and lower waistlines while others grasped onto turn-of-the-century traditions.
|Costume sketch of the Countess|
Want more of the inside scoop? Join us for Opera Inside Out, Tuesday, June 17th in Central City. Tickets are just $10 and include a performance by our Ensemble Artists as well as a behind-the-scenes tour. The Marriage of Figaro runs June 28 to July 26.