HomeOperaQ & A with Costume Designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke

Q & A with Costume Designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke

Scene from The Shining with Jack on one side of a door, trying to push through to the other side with Wendy and Danny barricading the door
Scene from Opera Colorado’s 2022 manufacturing of The Shining with Jack (Edward Parks), Wendy (Kelly Kaduce), and Danny (Micah Vonfeldt) Torrance.
Picture: Opera Colorado/Jamie Kraus

By: Angelica DiIorio

Kärin Kopischke is the unique costume designer for The Shining’s world premiere with Minnesota Opera in 2016. Now, she is again, placing the ending touches on costumes for our Rocky Mountain regional premiere. Find out how she created these costumes and adjusted the originals to suit its new forged.

See the costumes stay and in-person on the Ellie Caulkins Opera Home. Tickets for Moravec & Campbell’s The Shining begin at simply $35>>


Costume sketch by Kärin Simonson Kopischke of a ghost dressed for a masquerade ball with a mask, crown, and long gloves. Her eyes are red, and her arms are raised.
Ghost Costume Sketch by Kärin Simonson Kopischke

After I was first requested to do the opera, I knew it was type of up to date because the film was finished within the Seventies, so I figured it will be only a few classic items. However once I acquired the libretto, I acquired very excited as a result of it wasn’t simply the small household and some different characters. The librettist had determined so as to add all of the ghosts that had been within the resort who had been company throughout the Twenties and prohibition.

As Jack stays on the resort longer, he begins to get haunted and brought over by these ghosts. These ghosts had been essentially the most thrilling factor to design since there have been all particular and broken folks, so it turned a a lot greater undertaking than I believed it will be.


Properly, to start with, I like tales which might be darkish and disturbing, so this was proper up my alley. I learn the novel and watched the mini-series, which was far more true to the novel. I needed to point out within the costumes that the [Torrance] household begins out as a loving household who is admittedly making an attempt to make issues work, that Jack will get taken over by the resort, and that the ghosts within the resort are usually not pleasant ghosts, they’re manipulative and threatening.

I actually needed to distinguish the clothes between the true people within the story and the ghosts. The ghosts are in a really tight coloration pallet of whites, grays, and blacks, and they’re all very excessive. I additionally needed to make their faces present that they weren’t human and of the identical world because the household, so their make-up could be very particular. As Jack is taken over by the resort, he finally ends up going into that world. He begins within the colours of the people, and will get extra black, white, and grey, taking over the pallor of the ghosts and the redness to their eyes, as he turns into extra violent.

A series of four costume sketches by Kärin Simonson Kopischke sketches showing Jack Torrance’s costumes and how they change over time to include more red coloring.
Sketches of Jack Torrance’s costume transformation by Kärin Simonson Kopischke


Each time an opera strikes on to the following firm, it’s an journey. For one singer, he’s a special measurement than the unique character, however, surprisingly sufficient, he was in a position to put on half of the unique costume. The opposite [costumes] we had been in a position to recreate. I’m at all times amazed that singers could also be totally different sizes, totally different heights, however they finally appear to be very well forged. There are similarities to not solely the character within the novel but in addition to the singer who sang the function earlier than. Our Danny is far greater than the Danny we had in Minneapolis…they’re sporting totally different items however have the identical really feel. For the ghosts, the forged is all sizes and styles, so individuals are in a position to put on costumes which might be acceptable to who they’re. Everybody is worked up in regards to the creepy costume they acquired to put on.


Headshot of Kärin Simonson Kopischke
Headshot of Kärin Simonson Kopischke

Each time I take into consideration [the fittings], I understand that the actor could be very susceptible; they do not know what’s going to be placed on them. They’ve an thought of what the character seems to be like of their head, after which, unexpectedly, right here I stroll in and say, “No, that is what you will appear like.” It’s at all times thrilling when it’s occurring as a result of the actors are very excited to see what they are going to be sporting. Usually, it informs them of what that character is, and the costumes may even take them additional. They actually get a way of rounding out the concepts they’ve been considering and taking part in with, and it turns into extra actual to them.


I need the actor and the singer to appear like how I’ve interpreted the character and the way the director has from collaborations with me. I need the character to appear like that, however, virtually extra importantly, I need the singer to really feel like that is who that character is on two ranges. Visually, that is how the singer noticed the character and the way the viewers will see them. However I additionally need the singer to really feel assured and comfy within the clothes in order that they’ll carry out, and so they don’t should suppose in any sensible phrases about what they’re sporting.


Costume sketches of the Grady girls by Kärin Simonson Kopischke
Costume sketches of the Grady ladies by Kärin Simonson Kopischke

I like the 2 ladies. With the film, we have now that iconic picture of the 2 twin ladies within the blue. They don’t seem to be twin ladies; they’re two sisters, and they’re totally different ages. That was one of many issues Stephen King hated in regards to the film. I used to be very involved so once I rendered these costumes, I made it clear that there was an older sister and a youthful sister, and they don’t seem to be dressed alike.

Costumes can say rather a lot a few character. The people and ghosts in The Shining are sometimes troubled and conflicted; their costumes have their work minimize out for them to assist painting this complexity. Expertise the costumes for your self if you see The Shining, working this February and March.






When you liked attending to know Kärin on this submit, you’ll love seeing her costumes stay and in particular person! Tickets for Opera Colorado’s February/March manufacturing of Moravec & Campbell’s The Shining are on sale now>>

What else would you prefer to find out about costume design? Which costumes in The Shining are your favorites? Which adaptation of The Shining do you suppose has the very best costumes?




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