Eleven opera board members demand information

The sale you refer to was at the San Francisco Opera (even though it may have been mentioned on our opera's website). The San Diego Opera has not had a costume sale in quite a while. Most operas are done with rentals of full shows, with alterations, repairs and sometimes the leads redone. The SD Opera owns some shows that they rent to other places and rents out others. A costume would have to be pretty shabby to get sold under those conditions: even a trashed one would serve as a model for a remake, and that might be the best that could be done to follow a design. The Opera has mounted shows done by designers that have been dead for decades. Costumes that can't be altered due to a huge size difference have to be made in the shop based on the one that was sent: perhaps some of the accessories fit. Normal theatres will restock garments by garment type and period, that's not the way opera usually works. SD Opera has even got some shows by having them be abandoned by the owner-opera. I heard of one set of costumes they got to keep because it was the third best version that the renting opera had and they didn't want it back (probably the Met). I wonder what the SF Opera was selling: they have been around for much longer, so it might be really ancient stuff, or operas that the staff agreed would never be done by anyone in the foreseeable future, or it was clothing items that were donated by patrons or their estates.
— March 29, 2014 12:10 a.m.

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