Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Royal Ballet : Inside Story – From Gory to Gorgeous

The Education department of the Royal Opera House continue their series of insights with this evening dedicated to the work of the wigs and make-up department.

The last event on this subject was absolutely fascinating. There were two simultaneous demonstrations, one to turn a ballet dancer into a goat (with yak hair in the wig) and one to age an opera singer by about 30 yrs. Yes, it worked a treat.

The demonstrators are extremely knowledgeable and took questions throughout.

There was also a display of the prosthetics used for various productions – some were pretty gruesome and all were completely realistic. One of the most interesting aspects was the differences between making up for theatre and making up for film. One of the team will have sat in many different seats in the auditorium checking that the make-up is right wherever you are sitting. For filming, the make-up is much more subtle and doesn’t project as far because it’s unnecessary. So if you came to watch a performance on a night when it was filmed for television, you might have noticed a difference in the make-up and that's why.

The Head of Department, Claudia Stolze, talked about one occasion when she bought real hair from a lady who was going to be a nun and had to cut off her hair, and an enlightening discussion followed about which are the best countries to buy real hair from and how often wigs are made with other types of hair for various reasons.

MAC, suppliers of all ROH make-up, have in the past given goodie bags to those attending (though it didn’t happen last year so don’t expect it).

When I checked this morning there were some tickets left, which is unusual, so I thought I’d mention it here. It’s on Wednesday 8th July at 7.30pm in the Linbury Studio Theatre and the tickets are £14.

There is a short video clip of the working department here, to give you a flavour of their work. Just click on Ballet & Dance and then Backstage for the link to Wigs and Make-up.

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