Monumental Myth and McGregor - Costume Designer Louise Gray on Orpheus and Eurydice

22nd October 2019 in News

During the summer, we caught up with Louise Gray after she finished with London Fashion Week. She gives us a glimpse into how she works and shares her take on Orpheus and Eurydice.

What will we see in this production that is quintessential ‘Louise Gray’?

I think its visual impact will come from the differing and contrasting colour palettes. I’m combining a mixture of textiles, laced with a high-fashion feeling in the garments themselves. I’m really interested in how looks can be presented as a whole.

What are the challenges of this opera to you as a designer?

Doing justice to the many layers of ideas and making sure they remain and come across in the end result. As a designer, ensuring these narratives are interpreted visually onstage is key. I’ve done lots research into Gluck and Orpheus, and information on both is bountiful. There is so much to learn, and then you turn that into something that is for now, here, at ENO.

How do you hope your audience will feel when they leave the Coliseum after this production?

I think Wayne McGregor productions are boundary-pushing pieces. They make you think, they make you question everything and they are filled with beauty. These are things we need enormously! I am completely elated to be working with Wayne and his amazing hand-picked dancers.

What do you think Gluck tells us in this telling of the Orpheus myth?

I think it appeals to a truth that is at the heart of us as humans. Gluck’s opera engages directly with our experience of the many emotional complexities of life, especially love in its many forms.

Orpheus is told not to look back, but what do you look back on and see as the key turning-point in your career that has brought you to design this production at ENO?

I hope all of it! I think you have to be aware of your past creativity and use it in future-facing ways. The process has already been so fruitful and interesting. I am enormously grateful and happy to be immersed in the process of working on this production between now and when we open in October. This cycle of learning and creating never ends, like all the behind-the-scenes things I’m learning from the atelier at ENO!

Sum up for us in three words what this production means to you.

Monumental, obsessional, love.

English National Opera’s Orpheus and Eurydice runs until 19 November at the London Coliseum