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<<  -- 2 --  Robert Hugill    STYLISH AND MEMORABLE

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For the production at Grange Park, director Stephen Langridge and designer George Souglides seem to have been concerned to create a simple, stylish production which was not too overwhelmed with historicising references. Langridge seems to have admirably intended to produce Donizetti's opera without filtering it too much through our standard historical prejudices.

This meant that though Janice Kelly's Elizabetta made her first entrance dressed in full Elizabethan costume, she soon shed this. Souglides costumes included Elizabethan detailing but in simplified form; the women's dresses had a faintly Victorian/Edwardian outline but the bodices were distinctly Elizabethan. This imaginative mixing of styles stretched to the rather distinctively stylish men's suits. For the more formal moments of the opera, the entire cast wore stylised ruffs. The results had a coherent, stylish look which nodded at the work's Elizabethan origins without flooding the stage with fussy detail.

Majella Cullagh in the title role of Grange Park's 'Maria Stuarda'. Photo © 2005 Alastair Muir
Majella Cullagh in the title role of Grange Park's 'Maria Stuarda'. Photo © 2005 Alastair Muir

The drawback to this approach was the designer's apparent concern to limit the colour range on stage, the majority of costumes were grey and the use colour was limited; but where used, as for Elizabetta's costumes, colour made telling effect.

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Copyright © 23 June 2005 Robert Hugill, London UK

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