The Magical World of Costume

The Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre has started the first costume fittings for the upcoming premiere of The Queen of Spades.

The premiere of the new show, staged by Iñaki Urlezaga, a famous danseur and choreographer from Argentina, is scheduled for December 5. The set for the production is being handled by Ezio Frigerio, a world-class theatre designer; costume design, in turn, is being supervised by his wife, the legendary Franca Squarciapino, who has worked with the best film and stage directors and with the global ballet's most brilliant stars. It is a well-known fact that Franca has an Oscar. She won the award back in 1991, for the costumes that she designed for the Cyrano de Bergerac film starring Gérard Depardieu. And in 1992, she made costumes for La Bayadère, Rudolf Nureyev's very last show.

Right now the first costume fittings are under way: the costume crew is making adjustments to ensure that the artist's designs match the ballerinas' figures. As a true professional, Franca recently attended rehearsals, to get a better sense of the characters' personalities. She thinks that the show's creators are treating Pushkin 'with respect'. The fabrics for her costumes have been brought over from a workshop not far from Lake Como in Italy, which is where the creative duo of spouses working on the new ballet's visuals has made its home. Franca admits that finding the right fabrics is her favourite part of getting ready for a performance. Even as an aspiring artist, working with Giorgio Strehler at his small Piccolo Theatre, she already knew that each costume must have its own unique spirit, since it is, in essence, the visual reflection of the character. And obviously, costumes should be comfortable to dance in as well. 'For me, making costumes, especially historical costumes, is like creating a special kind of dreamlike world, which is more poetic and spiritual than our mundane life,' says the artist. 'Working in theatre allows me to create something so beautiful that the audience is going to gasp in amazement, as though it had stepped into a fairytale'.