IRIS VAN HERPEN DESIGNS COSTUMES FOR ‘Pelléas et Mélisande’ Opera Vlaanderen

Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen has designed twenty costumes for ‘Pelléas et Mélisande’, an opera dance production by Opera Vlaanderen, for which choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet collaborate with performance artist Marina Abramović. The opera will premiere tonight in the Flemish Opera in Antwerp. The conductor is Alejo Perez.

For the designs, Iris van Herpen was inspired by the story, the music and conversations she performed with Damien, Sidi and Marina and by the modern interpretation of the characters; by giving them a voice and opinion in the world where we live today. She was also inspired by the science and theory of parallel universes, the subjectivity of time and how emotions can travel universally through the ages.

The costumes are made of traditional materials such as silk, wool and leather and special materials have been developed in the studio of Iris van Herpen. For example, the striped material is laser cut and then attached to invisible tulle via heat treatment, making it look like a sketch on the body. The dancers’ silver web suits are made of a thin rubber, changeable fabric that is laser cut, which creates a ‘glitchy’ armor around the dancers.
About Pelléas et Mélisande

In the Claude Debussy year 2018 (he died 100 years ago this year), Opera Flanders brings together a special artistic team for this new prestigious production of Debussy’s only completed opera ‘Pelléas et Mélisande’. The direction and choreography are in the hands of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet. For the scenography, they work together with the world-famous performance artist Marina Abramović. In their vision, they look for the subcutaneous tensions and the complex relationships in which the strength of the players from Pelléas et Mélisande lies. They look for opportunities to visualize the connections between the deeply human and the universal metaphysical.

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