Covent Garden gets dressed down by Balenciaga

Covent Garden gets dressed down by Balenciaga


norman lebrecht

October 07, 2022

The Royal Opera House is using costumes from the Paris couturier in its sold-out new opera, Last Days, which opens tonight.

Based on Gus Van Sant’s 2005 film, Last Days is composed by Oliver Leith and directed by librettist by Matt Copsonn and Anna Morrissey.

Copson says: ‘Balenciaga was the obvious fit – (its) work involves the questioning and distortion of archetypes, the aesthetics of ‘alternative’ and the legacy of the 90s in a disruptive and poetic way. Each character on stage represents a different tribe and our references ranged from the specifics of Mormon backpacks to Seattle teen fashion. We asked ourselves – what do these forms mean to us now and how can we distort these loaded symbols into something poetic.’


Remember the 1990s Jonathan Miller production, which was dressed off the peg by Marks & Spencer? Those were nice frocks and suits.

photo: ROH


  • artea says:

    The first runs of the Miller Cosi had costumes by Armani. The ROH had to go to m&s in a last minute rush before a later revival when Armani wouldn’t let his designs be worn any more.
    Miller was allowed the new production of cosi provided he accepted no budget for a set. So there were nice clothes provided you were close enough to see them but a very ugly non-set.

  • Claudio says:

    Actually a good choice, having in mind the libretto.

    Choice would be questionable if they made Alberich wear Dolce & Gabbana, but this anyway would be better than recent costumes used in Staatsoper unter den Linden’s Ring.

  • Jon says:

    When it was new, the Jonathan Miller production of Cosi fan tutte was actually dressed by Armani. It was only for a later revival that the ROH used off-the-peg clothes from M&S.

  • Singeril says:

    I went to a golf course and an opera commenced.