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This is one of those operas the aficionados all know, but have seldom, if ever, seen. It is the beginning of something new. Leaving the Baroque behind it marks the beginning of German language Romantic opera; full of supernatural happenings and the conflict between good and evil; often with strangely religious connotations.

How to costume this? The initial production, in 1843, was set at the end of the Thirty Years War. This meant oceans of lace, padded breeches, velvet, gold braid, etc. This picture seems to conflict with the new Romantic Movement, the libretto and even the music. How to resolve this difficulty? After much discussion with Marshall, the solution seemed to be to set this opera at the time of its composition, the early nineteenth century. I decided on two specific references: contemporary portraiture and the emerging school of genre painting. I found this a happy choice for there are many paintings of hunts, huntsmen and of ordinary people in rustic landscapes. As well the 19th century was very fond of picturing medieval legends, which indeed permeate the whole of the Germanic Romantic movement to the plot of this opera. I have a personal connection to the plot of this opera. My great grandfather was a woodsman and gamekeeper on a Scottish estate and won many medals for marksmanship without the help of magic bullets!

 

- Martha Mann, Costume Designer

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