Friday, October 15, 2010

Costume Shop

Posted By on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 10:47 AM

This might not be the right blog for this, but Opera Memphis is selling dresses, robes, and pantaloons from its famed costume stock. And it's just in time for Halloween.

I hit the preview sale yesterday, and I have to say ... it was amazing.

They are only selling a fraction of it, but Opera Memphis' costume collection includes more than a million pieces. (Ed.'s note: It's a closet the rivals only my own.) It has costumes from at least 13 shows, a lot of them made in Europe, and the pieces date from 1940 to the present.

Costumes for sale include those from shows, such as La Boheme, which the opera has half the costumes for, and some are one-offs, period pieces that were used to fill in the chorus but don't go with any particular set.


"We have so many costumes and we only have so much space to store them," said director of development Christiana Leibovich. "We really love the idea of people being out in the community in really amazing costumes and being like, 'I'm wearing an original opera costume.' These are costumes you couldn't rent for the price we're selling them."

Some of the costumes are so well-traveled they even have passport stamps.


(More after the jump.)

"We just started going through it and said, 'Maybe we don't need 19 Swiss guard uniforms. With ruffs,'" Leibovich said. "Maybe we don't need those."

Suit of armor, anyone?
  • Suit of armor, anyone?

At least one group scored with the selection.

Ashleigh Williams, the theater director at Briarcrest, brought a group of students to the preview sale and ended up with an entire rack of costumes.

"It's an incredible opportunity for a high school to be able to come and buy these costumes that we wouldn't have the ability to make ourselves," Williams said. "We're getting ready to do Les Miserables, so this is perfect."


"We would have to rent it, and by doing this, we can afford it and then we have something to show for it when we're done," Williams said.

The sale is open to the public today from 4 to 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. at the Opera Memphis building on Wolf River Parkway.

If you're worried about Briarcrest taking all the good stuff, not to fear. Leibovich says they didn't have enough space initially to put out everything they wanted to sell, so they'll be pulling more items today.

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