Special edition dedicated to the footwear we all admire …
Boots have long been part of costuming in theatre productions, from Restoration Comedy to Pantomime to ….. opera ….. and where better for a White Shirt to espy her favourite diva wearing a dazzling pair of boots than Act 3 of Der Rosenkavalier.
By the end of this Act Octavian has dispensed with bedroom shirts, m’lady’s maid dressing-up atire and all that formal garb from Act 2 which often involves powdered wigs and lots of silver. (S)he has amused us with “Nein, nein. Nein, nein!”, escaped the clutches of Ochs and eventually appeared in truly dashing military-style coat, ruffled shirt (white?), waistcoat, breeches and boots to sing the most glorious trio of all time.
Here is a selection of Octavians ( yes, I’ve seen that written as Octavia somewhere too !) of various vintages. Tatyana Troyanos and Sena Jurinac are sporting the suede look, whereas Ms. DiDonato favours the brown leather. [all images are screen caps from YT videos unless otherwise stated]
Of course by far the most popular boot of choice is the unadorned black leather, sometimes worn to above the knee. Naturally the boot has the added advantage of an optional heel which will be a help if your diva is vertically challenged - not everyone has the fabulous height of Anne Sophie von Otter! ( name written out in full – it’s too lovely to abbreviate. )
Just right for Ms. Bonney to nestle against
Oh my goodness Just LOOK at that leather coat!
Love the coat? …. HERE
Of course there are many other scintillating operas where boots can be worn by leading characters.
No doubt you have your own personal favourite,
but how about those of Ms. Connolly in Giulio Cesare.
Or THIS unforgettable image? …. What do you mean – you’ve never noticed the boots before?
La Clemenza di Tito. Royal Opera House 2002.
Boots styling for the 20th century …
and the 19th century, in the same production.
So, there we have it.A brief walkthrough of boots in opera. By the way, did you notice how restrained I have been in not mentioning Puss in Boots once?
Boots. Ugg boots to keep us warm ( so why exactly are they Australian?) Wellington boots for the rain and the British countryside, fashion boots (DM’s anyone?) heeled boots to make us appear taller and leaner, cowboy boots for the line-dancing classes. And best of all, the full range of beautiful boots worn by our beautiful mezzos who are sometimes singing to beautiful sopranos (I know there’s a well-known phrase or saying there but it escapes me!) Bet you have a pair tucked in the far recesses of your wardrobe. Go on. Get them out and love them!
Oops - nearly forgot. Talking of boots ….