I’m rehearsing with the Royal Opera at the moment for Massenet’s Manon, which opens on Tuesday. It’s the first revival since the show was made here by Laurent Pelly in 2010 and in the intervening years the production has been touring the world, as evidenced by the fantastic series of labels sewn into my Act IV dress.
I started wondering who the exotically-named singers are who have shared my costumes. Some items last longer than others, according to fabric and function, and only the most robust garments and shoes survive many years without needing to be totally remade. I look inside the boots I am wearing in Carmen and am delighted to find that I have been following in the steps of Alina Garanča, who wore them as Carmen herself in an earlier revival.
I love these historical details; what, I wonder are the oldest and most frequently-worn garments still in use at the Royal Opera?