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In a way working in a specifc period helps you
because it gives you a starting point, something to
look at that helps develop the ideas.”
While you might expect a focus on the look of
the characters, and to want to receive plaudits for the
costumes,Rodwell says he’s happier for a production
to be well received than for his department’s work to
gain praise. “Coming to see an opera, you’re coming
to see a whole experience,” he says. “It’s about the
music, it’s about the singing, it’s about the acting,
it’s about the costumes, the set, the lighting and
collectively we create an experience for people. I
think we do an extremely good job with that. If one
particular area stands out more than the others then
we’ve not done quite as good a job as we should
have, because the whole end product should be a
harmonious blend of all those elements – you don’t
want one particular element to jump to the fore. If
people say, ‘Oh, the costumes were marvellous, but
the rest of it wasn’t actually that interesting’, then
there’s not much point. If we focus too much on
the single area that we do, then we lose sight of the
overall picture, and that’s a bad thing.”
For more information on Opera North visit
www.operanorth.co.uk
STEPHEN
RODWELL
IT’S ABOUT THE MUSIC, IT’S ABOUT
THE SINGING, IT’S ABOUT THE ACTING,
IT’S ABOUT THE COSTUMES, THE SET,
THE LIGHTING AND COLLECTIVELY WE
CREATEANEXPERIENCEFORPEOPLE.
Behind the Curtain
Stephen Rodwell is the Head of Costume at Opera North,
the national opera company based in Leeds. He has worked at
Opera North for over 25 years, and now heads up the costume
department which includes everything from looking after the
teams who design and create the costumes for each individual
cast member, to ensuring that even the smallest detail, from the
style of the makeup to the wigs chosen, enhances the overall
design for the production.