Beginning April 30, visitors to the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center will have an opportunity to learn about the art of stage costumes. After months of planning and preparation, the museum is presenting what it hopes will be the first of many temporary displays on loan from Sarasota Opera.
The Sarasota Opera Association, Inc. is one of the nation’s premiere arts organizations. In addition to producing an annual program of award-winning operatic performances, Sarasota Opera holds one of the largest costume collections in the world. The organization recently acquired more than 30,000 costumes created by Toronto-based Malabar, Ltd. For decades, Malabar created costumes worn by opera superstars such as Marilyn Horne, Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, and many others. The Sarasota Opera costume collection is not a museum archive, however. The costumes are still in use today and can be rented for productions around the country.
Sarasota Opera General Director Richard Russell commented, “We are proud to be the custodians of this collection of costumes that have been worn by some of the greatest opera stars, including the incomparable Marilyn Horne. We are especially happy that they continue to be used by the next generation of great singers.”
Included in the current exhibit are costumes created for the operas “Alzira,” “Turandot,” and “Tancredi.” Two of the costumes were created by Howard Tsvi Kaplan who created costumes for more than 100 productions spanning 25 seasons for Sarasota Opera. Two additional costumes were designed by the late Michael Stennett, an internationally-acclaimed British artist and costume designer who worked in both the opera scene and in Hollywood.
The costume exhibits at the museum have been made possible by the generous support of Carol and Larry Killian. The Killians are among an inaugural group of donors to the Marilyn Horne Museum and the costume alcoves have been named in their honor. They continue to support the museum’s mission and take a keen interest in all of the museum’s programs.
Museum director Matthew D. Hileman said, “This project would not have been possible without Carol and Larry’s support. I have not only enjoyed getting to know them over the past six years, but their excitement is infectious and inspires us to always be thinking about what we can do next. They have helped keep the museum fresh and dynamic.”
The current costume display will be on view until July 9, 2023.