The Royal Opera partners with Balenciaga for THE LAST DAYS costume design


The Royal Opera today announces its partnership with Balenciaga. The House has selected specific pieces from its Fall 2022 and Winter 2022 collections for the Last Days costumes.

Based on Gus Van Sant’s 2005 film, Last Days opens at the Linbury Theater on Friday, October 7, 2022, bringing contemporary existentialist mythos to the opera stage. This new work is composed by ROH/Guildhall School Composer-in-Residence Oliver Leith, with a libretto by Matt Copson, and is conducted by Matt Copson and Anna Morrissey. Jack Sheen conducts 12 Ensemble with guest artists GBSR Duo.

Created in collaboration with Balenciaga Artistic Director Demna, stylist Patrick Welde and Matt Copson, the costumes mark Balenciaga’s first alliance with an opera house and the Royal Opera’s first costume partnership with a fashion house.

The ensemble’s eight-member suits feature sculptural forms executed in technical fabrics, paired with oversized denim and deconstructed shirts, all drawing inspiration from Balenciaga’s original silhouettes – an aesthetic central to the brand’s DNA. Mark.

Matt Copson said: “The opening shot of Smells Like Teen Spirit contained famous product placement – ​​a close-up of Converse shoes, politely tapping out the iconic riff. We knew very early on that we had to get out of the costume of an era to go towards something more paradoxical, which involved us in the present.

Balenciaga was the obvious choice – Demna’s work involves the questioning and distortion of archetypes, the aesthetic of “the alternative” and the legacy of the 90s in a disruptive and poetic way. Each character on stage represents a different tribe, and our references ranged from specific Mormon backpacks to Seattle teen fashions. We wondered what these shapes mean to us now and how can we twist these charged symbols into something poetic.

Last Days opens the Linbury Theater season – a space designed to showcase the pioneering works of the brightest talent. In November, the ROH continues its Benjamin Britten cycle with a heartbreaking new production of The Rape of Lucretia – directed by Royal Opera Director Oliver Mears. January sees the UK premiere of Irish National Opera’s Least Like the Other – a searing portrait of Rosemary Kennedy, a hidden member of America’s political dynasty, directed by Netia Jones, with Fergus Sheil conducting the explosive score by Brian Irvine. Woman at Point Zero, inspired by the seminal novel by Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi, opens in June as part of the Shubbak 2023 festival; and History of the Present – Maria Fusco’s groundbreaking semi-autobiographical new film-opera marking the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement – opens in July. Both are also part of the Engender festival.

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