CCM Professor of Costume Design Dean Mogle recently gave CCM Public Information Assistant and Arts Administration student Sara Kissinger a behind-the-scenes tour of the costume shop, which is in full swing in these last crucial weeks before the opening of The Magic Flute. All photography by CCM Arts Administration student Shawn Kelly.
Sara Kissinger: Dean, thank you so much for inviting me to visit the shop today. The Magic Flute is an iconic work in opera repertoire – have you designed for this show before?
Dean Mogle: I have not designed a production of Flute before. The last time CCM did Flute was the 1986-87 season, before I joined the faculty.
SK: Did you have a specific concept for your design?
DM: There were two major influences on the design. The first is the 18th century influence, which is a nod back to when Mozart wrote the opera. This is the Queen of the Night’s world. It’s midnight: there are a lot of blues and everything is deep and dark and rich. The second influence is a sort of modified Egyptian style, which is Sarastro’s world. The costumes are warm colors – gold and bronze.
SK: What was the process of making the costumes like?
DM: With the exception of shoes and some petticoats, absolutely everything for this show was built in the costume shop. Nothing was rented or borrowed. That’s about 60 full costumes. The show came into the shop in October. There are about 25 students in the costume area alone, not including wardrobe. They spent thousands of hours working on this show which has one weekend of performances.
SK: Was there a particular difficulty in creating any of the costumes?
DM: Papageno’s costume required a lot of work. The debate about Papageno is always, “Is he a man? Is he a bird?” It’s never really resolved. So our job was to make him part of the world of the creatures. We couldn’t use real feathers because people can be allergic, and why would you use real feathers in a fantasy world? After exploring many options, we finally decided to create the feathers by hand. We researched and found a fabric that would look light and feathery, dyed pieces of the fabric to the exact colors we wanted, cut each feather by hand and sewed the individual feathers in place on body suits for two Papagenos and two Papagenas, due to the double casting. An added challenge was that, because these body suits are against the skin of the actors, everything had to be washable. This is the kind of intricate work that happens on Broadway and our students are learning it now.
SK: What will happen to the costumes after the show closes?
DM: The whole show will be added to our costume archive as a package. The complete stock, as well as smaller collections from the whole, will be available for rental by other companies. We often get requests for priest or nun costumes – this collection contains many versatile pieces.
SK: Thank you for your time today, Dean. I can’t wait to see the show!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute runs April 4 – 7 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium. Mark Gibson conducts with stage direction by Steven Goldstein. Tickets are $30 for adults, $19 for non-UC students and $17 for UC students with a valid ID. $12 student rush tickets will be available for the Sunday matinee beginning at 1 p.m. on April 7. Limit two rush tickets per student ID.
CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s
Community Partner: ArtsWave