Stage, Visual Arts

Picture gallery: Up close and glittering

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Melbourne is buzzing at the moment as arts-goers await the much talked about Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria next weekend and the opening of Opera Australia’s Ring from Monday at the State Theatre. But you can take a look back at the nation’s artistic archive at an exhibition opening tomorrow at the Arts Centre Melbourne. All That Glitters is all about the look, the bling, the costumes worn by stage stars, including Dame Edna Everage, Kylie Minogue and Dame Nellie Melba, who can truly be described as “icons”.  Wasn’t it Dame Edna who called herself an “icon with a mic on”?
The exhibition features pieces from the Arts Centre Melbourne’s extensive Performing Arts Collection and includes the sparkling, Swarovski crystal-embroidered John Galliano corset worn by Kylie Minogue when  she returned to the stage with her Showgirl Homecoming Tour  2006 and Dame Edna’s grandiose Gladioli dress, designed by Bill Goodwin.
Alongside those that have graced international stages, there are costumes by some of the local designers who have shaped the way we look at the stage, such as Roger Kirk, John Truscott, Kenneth Rowell, Anne Fraser and Kristian Fredrikson. Those costumes have been the centrepieces of productions by The Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare and Opera Australia.
The collection covers over 100 years of onstage extravagance, from a gown worn by Dame Nellie Melba circa 1891,  through to costumes from musical hits of the 1950s and 1960s, including Hello Dolly and My Fair Lady. There are even sequined pineapples in Roger Kirk’s design for Hugh Jackman in the 2006 arena tour of The Boy From Oz.

Midsummer Night's Dream
Coat worn by Jeanette Cronin as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bell Shakespeare Company, 2000
Designed by Sue Field

Marriage of Figaro costume
Costume worn by Joan Carden as Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Opera Australia, 2000
Designed by Michael Stennett

Kylie costume
Costume worn by Kylie Minogue in Kylie Showgirl: Homecoming Tour, 2006
Designed by John Galliano

Turandot costume
Costume worn by Morag Beaton as Princess Turandot in Turandot, Elizabethan Trust Opera Company, 1967 – 1971
Designed by Mel Clifford

Dame Edna costume
Costume worn by Dame Edna Everage in Tears Before Bedtime, 1985
Designed by Bill Goodwin

Nellie Melba costume
Cloak worn by Nellie Melba as Elsa in Lohengrin, c. 1891
Designed by Jean-Phillipe Worth

Hugh Jackman costume
Costume worn by Hugh Jackman as Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, 2006
Designed by Roger Kirk

[box] All That Glitters is a free exhibition at Arts Centre Melbourne, open from November 16 – February 23.[/box]

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