Behind the Curtains: The Magic Flute and Zandra Rhodes

Opera lovers and fashionistas alike will have reason to applaud this spring. For several nights in May, the Seattle Opera will be ending its 2010 and 2011 season with a performance of the Magic Flute.

Photos: Zandra Rhodes, Couture Collection

Among the most celebrated operas of all time, The Magic Flute has been a hit since Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed and staged its first production in 1791. Now, director Chris Alexander and conductor Gary Thor Wedow are bringing the magic to Seattle Opera House – and a famous designer is joining them. Zandra Rhodes, one of the most celebrated artistic designers in the world, is the visionary behind this production’s elaborate, breathtaking costumes.

Known for her unique use of bold, feminine patterns and dramatic use of color – The Magic Flute is the perfect scene for Zandra’s creations. Making her Seattle Opera debut, Rhodes is no stranger to designing and crafting lavish clothing ensembles. Her past clients in the past have included Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Kylie Minogue, Anastasia, Paris Hilton, Joan Rivers and Isabella Blow.

Born in Chatham, Kent, UK, Rhodes was introduced to the world of design and art by her mother. She studied at Medway College and then at The Royal College of Art in London, majoring in printed textile design. With outrageous textile designs that were not considered acceptable by the traditional British manufacturers, Rhodes began to make dresses from her own fabrics and incorporated the use of striking prints in the garments she created.

In 1969, two years after she opened her first shop, Zandra Rhodes brought her collection to New York where it was featured in American Vogue. Since then, her name has become synonymous with long-lasting, high quality designs. In 1997, she was given the title Commander of the British Empire in 1997, in recognition of her contribution to fashion and textiles. Today, Zandra Rhodes collections are sold in top stores and boutiques around the world, and her name is always a hot discussion topic within the fashion industry.

For more information about the schedule of tickets for The Seattle Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, visit the official Seattle Opera website.