Top Five Classical Halloween Costumes
This Feature Originally Ran in 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
With just a few days left till the witching hour, there’s little time left for planning a good costume. Why blend into a crowd full of ghouls and goblins when you can dress as a glamorous musician? We’ve pulled together our favorites that should be a smash at any masked ball. Here are our top five.
1. An Upright Piano
There are piano ties, and suspenders, and even a flapper outfit with keys as fringe. Become a true piano man by dressing as an upright piano. The project requires a refrigerator box–worth of cardboard and some serious construction skills, but it is certain to catapult its wearer into the finals of any costume contest—if the outfit fits can make it through the door. Extra points go to anyone attempting to fashion a grand.
2. Yuja Wang
Take a cue from this year’s headlines and dress up as pianist Yuja Wang in the orange mini dress she wore in a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The pumpkin-colored garment caught the eye of L.A. Times critic Marc Swed, whose reaction sparked an international debate over the importance of concert attire. Carry along the music for Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto to make sure the outfit reads as fashion forward Chinese musical prodigy rather than Beverly Hills housewife.
3. Great Composers
Go for period garb by dressing as a titan of music history. The towering figures J.S. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven are famous enough to have their own pre-packaged children’s Halloween kits—albeit pricy ones. People who need a bigger than a boys XXL may have to find purveyors of 18th century wigs and court attire to pull off a convincing Bach or Mozart. A potential Beethoven might be able to get away with teased hair, an overcoat, white shirt and a red cravat.
4. Luciano Pavarotti
Though he died four years ago, Luciano Pavarotti is still one of the most recognizable musical figures, which is probably the reason why a U.K. toy site is selling a vinyl Pavarotti mask for about $30 (not including shipping). The rest of the costume requires a roomy tuxedo, plenty of stuffing and a large silk scarf.
5. A Valkyrie
Ardent Wagner fans have been known to dress up as Valkyries for Ring Cycles just like teenagers who wear anime costumes to Comic Con. Make sure to care a pair of speakers blaring the Ride of the Valkyries, so that your Brünnhilde isn’t mistaken for outfit isn’t mistaken as a Viking princess.
Bonus List: Top Five Costumes in Opera
Mistaken and concealed identities are at the heart of many opera plots. Here are our five favorites.
1. Count Almaviva is the master of disguise in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, appearing as the young suitor, a drunken soldier and a lustful music teacher before he appears as his noble self at the end of the opera.
2. Beethoven’s heroine Leonore disguises herself as a prison guard named Fidelio in opera of the same title to rescue her husband Florestan from prison.
3. Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) sounds like a made-for-television Halloween special, and surely enough it ends with a masquerade in which Riccardo’s love for Amelia overcomes his disguise, and he is killed.
4. Johann Strauss also uses masked ball to more humorous effects in Die Fledermaus. During the costumed gala, Rosalinde disguises herself as a Hungarian countess and tricks her husband, who is smitten by the Hungarian and oblivious she is actually his wife.
5. Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte might incorporated several costumed characters into their Cosi fan tutte. Both male leads test their lovers’ fidelities while as visiting Albanian, and the maid Despina partakes in the craziness first pretending she’s a doctor and next a notary.