The Nightingale thumbnail 1
The Nightingale thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

The Nightingale

Theatre Costume
1983 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Throughout the 20th century, great painters have been employed to design sets and costumes, with varying degrees of success. Among the most successful is David Hockney (born 1937), whose bold sense of form and colour are admirably suited to the stage. His ability to absorb a subject and then embody it visually using only the essential elements gives a great simplicity to his stage pictures, creating the essence of a character, theme or period.

Stravinsky's opera The Nightingale (Le Rossignol), is based on Hans Andersen's story of the Chinese Emperor who replaces a nightingale with a mechanical bird. When the Emperor falls ill, Death agrees to spare the Emperor if the nightingale will sing once more. Hockney's designs were highly stylized, set and costumes limited to shades of blue, black and white, reminiscent of the Chinoiserie Willow Pattern design. This costume is for the Bonze, a Buddhist monk, and the robe's very simplicity married to the high, stylized headdress help establish the character's authority.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 6 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Theatre Costume
  • Opera Costume
  • Robe
  • Theatre Costume
  • Opera Costume
  • Robe
  • Theatre Costume
  • Opera Costume
  • Headdress
  • Theatre Costume
  • Opera Costume
  • Mask
  • Theatre Costume
  • Opera Costume
  • Glove
  • Theatre Costume
  • Opera Costume
  • Glove
Brief Description
Costume for the Bonze in Stravinsky's opera The Nightingale (Le Rossignol) designed by David Hockney, Royal Opera, 1983
Dimensions
  • Height: 165cm
  • Width: 200cm
  • Depth: 145cm
Costume measured on hanger; excluding headdress
Credit line
Given by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Object history
Costume for the Bonze in Stravinsky's opera The Nightingale (Le Rossignol), designed by David Hockney, Royal Opera, 1983, worn by Robert Lloyd. The production was originally seen at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York as a co-production with the Royal Opera.



Historical significance: An example of costume designing by a distinguished painter. Hockney first designed opera for Glyndebourne in 1975 and went on to work on operas in Los Angeles and New York. Le Rossignol was performed in a double bill with Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortileges, also designed by Hockney, a co-production between the Royal Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. This was the first Hockney-designed production seen at the Royal Opera House.
Summary
Throughout the 20th century, great painters have been employed to design sets and costumes, with varying degrees of success. Among the most successful is David Hockney (born 1937), whose bold sense of form and colour are admirably suited to the stage. His ability to absorb a subject and then embody it visually using only the essential elements gives a great simplicity to his stage pictures, creating the essence of a character, theme or period.



Stravinsky's opera The Nightingale (Le Rossignol), is based on Hans Andersen's story of the Chinese Emperor who replaces a nightingale with a mechanical bird. When the Emperor falls ill, Death agrees to spare the Emperor if the nightingale will sing once more. Hockney's designs were highly stylized, set and costumes limited to shades of blue, black and white, reminiscent of the Chinoiserie Willow Pattern design. This costume is for the Bonze, a Buddhist monk, and the robe's very simplicity married to the high, stylized headdress help establish the character's authority.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
S.26:1 to 6-2003

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record createdMay 28, 2003
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