Jewels – a Guided Tour of the Costumes of the Foundation Opera in Berlin

I could not miss this opportunity. Mode designer Lorenzo Caprile led through the studios and gave secret insights into the development of his sparkling ballet costumes.

Jewels - a Guided Tour of the Costumes of the Foundation Opera in Berlin

Msometimes you experience things that catapult one with all your strength back into your own past. Must not always be pleasant, but in this case a great experience. I have the unique opportunity to take a look at the costume workshops of Berlin’s operas. For me as a designer, who worked during the studies in the atelier of the theater and also danced 15 years of ballet, a perfect match that could not fit better.The preparations were for a piece of the Statsballetts Berlin, which celebrated the last Saturday premiere. JEWELS is a well-known Ballet of the famous New Yorker choreographer George Balanchine from the year 1967 with the music of Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky and Peter I. Tchaikovsky. It is divided into three parts – Emeralds, Rubins, Diamonds – the dance, music and picture language always adapts to the respective gem.

For the costumes is the Spanish Mode designer Lorenzo Caprile responsible, which is the perfect occupation for it. Because he is known for his big robes and red carpet looks, he knows how to deal with precious materials and tons of stones. He also led personally through the costume workshops, where a few days before the premiere was still busy, giving insights into his creative development process as well as the production of the costumes.

The challenge with the design lay in a special feature of the play. Jewels is guarded by the heir, the George Balanchine Trust, as the crown jewels. No changes have been made to the choreography since the premiere in the 1960s. The costumes are similarly strict. The ballet in neoclassical style has no action, or has nothing to do with precious stones. The dancers are dressed only in the appropriate colors and, of course, in a particularly sumptuous manner.

The costumes of the men were even allowed to dust Caprile and make the designs clearer. In the case of the women, the trust was more strict, so that many of the first ideas had to be rejected and modified. In addition, ballet costumes can not, of course, be designed like conventional fashion. Apart from more freedom of movement, the collars must not be too high, so that the graceful necks of the dancers can be seen. The fabric of the skirts must be transparent enough so that the legs are not too much covered. Lacing in the back of the Tutus falls away, as the men could get caught with their hands, as well as stone embroidery in the waist region, because of the danger of injury.

However, as I could see with my own eyes, the result is really breathtaking.You can not imagine how many hours of work in a single costume. Not only is it about 10 meters of fabric for a tutu, but also several thousand stones attached to it, so that one also sees it sparkle from the last row. But the work on each of the almost 100 costumes has paid off. As the curtain opened and the light fell on the stones, the complete stage was faded and with every movement the dancers more.

My little journey into my own past really fascinated me and reminded me that I should really go back to the ballet.

Anyone who comes from Berlin or who has just come to visit the city and has become curious has a few opportunities to watch Jewels by George Balanchine.