Sunday Best: The elaborate costumes of ‘Phantom of the Opera’

Sunday Best: The elaborate costumes of ‘Phantom of the Opera’

The costumes and sets of “The Phantom of the Opera” were originally designed by Maria Björnson; the current tour, which stops at the Paramount Aug. 8-19, still uses her designs.

If you go to the touring production of “The Phantom of the Opera” (at the Paramount Theatre Aug. 8-19), you’ll see this costume onstage — but you won’t see it quite this way. Worn by the character of Christine during the opera-within-the-opera “Don Juan Triumphant” in Act II, it’s an elaborate dress inspired by Spanish folklore, with a multitiered skirt, laced bodice and ruffled sleeves. This close-up, though, shows you what you might not notice from your Paramount seat: the dress’s artful mix of fabrics (at least five different textiles), textured buttons, embroidery and beadwork, not to mention the delicate way that the bodice’s petals emphasize the waist.

The costumes and sets of “The Phantom of the Opera” were originally designed by Maria Björnson (who won Tony Awards for both in 1988), and the current tour still uses her designs, with more than 1,200 costume pieces worn for each performance. Björnson, who only designed three musicals in her career (she worked primarily in opera and ballet), died in 2002 at the age of 53; her costumes, in their exuberant beauty, live on.

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