When the curtain goes up on Indiana University Opera Theater’s The Merry Widow the audience will see a cast dressed in costumes designed by IU Department of Theatre professor Linda Pisano. Franz Lehar’s operetta is very much about beauty, youth, and partying in Paris of the 1920s. The costumes reflect what Pisano describes as significant and perhaps permanent changes for women.
“The women are wearing short skirts. They’ve bobbed their hair. They’ve lost the corset and the hour glass figure. Suddenly, they are embracing independence, at least physically and visually in their clothing. They’re expressing themselves in ways that they hadn’t before. And Paris in the 20s was where it was very much happening.”
Because of these historic changes, Pisano is especially pleased to be working with set designer and frequent colleague William Forrester. “He’s so knowledgeable about the breadth of the history of decorative art and architecture and he understands the changes in the female silhouette across the centuries.”
Forrester’s set is inspired by the art-deco movement. “It’s an exciting design,” says Pisano. “The set is black and white and silver with terrific nuances of detail.” Against the stark back drop Pisano has chosen dramatic contrasts. “We’ll have bright yellows, bright reds, and other strong colors that will have an exciting vibrancy against the set.”
The Merry Widow
operetta by Franz Lehar conducted by Dale Rieling stage direction by Vincent Liotta.
IU Musical Arts Center
October 18-21, 2012