A Visual Diary of Artists Who Designed for the Opera

Sofia Coppola is set to make her opera debut this year with a production of La Traviata at the Opera of Rome. Costumes will be designed by fashion icon Valentino, who asked Coppola to join the production after seeing her 2006 film Marie Antoinette.

Collaborations with the performance world have stretched back for centuries, but the opera has particularly fascinated artists. The Guardian writes about the appeal of Wagner for artists, who dreamed of a “total work of art”:

No creative artist has had such an electrifying impact on his contemporaries as Wagner. ‘What an artist! A man like him in painting would be quite something, and one will come,’ wrote Vincent van Gogh in 1888. Wagner obsessed artists because he had conceived of an art that denied the consumerist status of art, which Renoir captured in his 1874 painting La Loge, of a couple in a box. Wagner evoked an art that enveloped its spectators, dissolving boundaries between creator and public, involving every art form — music, literature, architecture, painting — fused in a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art.

We highlight a few of the artistic collaborations famous artists have had with opera, designing costumes and sets.