Royal Opera House to Team Up with Balenciaga with “Last Days’

By Francisco Salazar

The Royal Opera has announced a partnership with Balenciaga.

The House has selected specific pieces from its Fall 2022 and Winter 2022 collections for the Last Days costumes. Based on Gus Van Sant’s 2005 film, “Last Days” opens in the Linbury Theatre on Oct. 7, 2022 and will bring a contemporary existentialist myth to the opera stage.

The new work is composed by ROH/Guildhall School Composer-in-Residence Oliver Leith, with libretto by Matt Copson. Copson and Anna Morrissey will direct while Jack Sheen will conduct the 12 Ensemble with guest artists GBSR Duo.

Created in collaboration with Balenciaga Artistic Director Demna, stylist Patrick Welde and Copson, the costumes mark Balenciaga’s first alliance with an opera house and The Royal Opera’s first costume partnership with a fashion house.

The costumes for the eight members of the ensemble cast feature sculptural shapes executed in technical fabrics, paired with oversized denim and deconstructed shirting.

In a statement Copson said, ‘The opening shot of Smells Like Teen Spirit famously contained product placement – a close-up of Converse shoes, politely tapping along to the iconic riff. We knew early on that we had to move away from costuming a period and into something more paradoxical, that implicated us in the present day. Balenciaga was the obvious fit – Demna’s work involves the questioning and distortion of archetypes, the aesthetics of ‘alternative’ and the legacy of the 90s in a disruptive and poetic way. Each character on stage represents a different tribe and our references ranged from the specifics of Mormon backpacks to Seattle teen fashion. We asked ourselves – what do these forms mean to us now and how can we distort these loaded symbols into something poetic.”

“Last Days” is set to be presented through Oct. 11, 2022 and will star Agathe Rousselle, Patricia Auchterlonie, Mimi Doulton, Kate Howden, Seumas Begg, Sion Goronwy, Edmund Danon, and Henry Jenkinson.