SF Opera hosting online costume sale to support performing arts community out-of-work due to pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- ABC7 News was invited to the San Francisco Opera's costume warehouse in Burlingame for a special first look at the upcoming fall costume sale to support talented artists, artisans, technicians, and administrators who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SF Opera has not been able to hold live performances in 2020, with restrictions on singing and large gatherings in place indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, company staff have figured out a plan to hold their first costume sale in six years.

The team plans to sell 500 costumes, created for and by the San Francisco Opera for productions of Tannhauser, The Merry Widow, and Die Fledermaus.

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Manuel Gutierrez is the San Francisco Opera production coordinator.

"Right here, we're looking at a dress from Die Fledermaus," says Gutierrez as he shows off a long red satin gown with black lace trim and white tassel beads.

"Last time, we had a line four blocks down." Gutierrez recalls, "I'm really excited to share the artistry of the costume shop with the public."

Because of the pandemic, the production coordinator explains the sale will be online.

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There are one-of-a-kind creations for everyone, including kid's knight and squire robes, lightweight men's replica chain male jackets, couples costumes, and over-the-top coordinating hats.

The costumes also come with all accessories that the performers wore during productions, like jewelry, fans, and shawls.

COVID-19 has left performing arts stages everywhere in the dark, and General Director of the San Francisco Opera Matthew Shilvock adds many in the community are struggling.

"It's painful to see the number of artists who are out of work at the moment," says Shilvock, "The costume shop sale will be a very important part of helping to support those amazingly talented artists, artisans, technicians, and administrators."

"San Francisco is blessed to have some of the greatest arts organizations in the world," the general director adds, "and I think what we have really felt during this period the huge human need for the connection, for the emotional impact that the arts brings."
Gutierrez says the costume sale is a reminder of performances to come.

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"When I look at the opera house empty, I look at it as, this will pass," Gutierrez explains, "We will soon have our audience again."

Before buying a costume, it's important to take measurements for the recipient, because all outfits were made specifically for the performers.

All of the sizing info will be posted online. Costumes range in price from $75 to $1,000.

The sale is from November 13 to November 15.

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