Backstage at San Francisco Opera > March 2014 > San Francisco Opera Costume Shop Sale March 22 & 23
San Francisco Opera Costume Shop Sale March 22 & 23
If there’s one thing we San Franciscans like, it’s a reason to dress up in costume. Sure, Halloween in SF is pretty epic, but we don’t need to wait until October to come up with a good excuse to get creative, put on our dancing shoes, watch some make up tutorials and put on a costume! We’ve got Bay to Breakers for those who wish to run (or, ahem, stumble…) in costume; Pride and the Folsom Street Fair for those who wish to parade in costume; SF Symphony’s Masquerade Ball for those who wish to be classy in costume. Who doesn’t know someone going to Burning Man this year? When’s the next movie sing along at the Castro Theater? What ever will you wear to your friend’s RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing party? Maybe this year you’ve finally been talked into entering the Hunky Jesus pageant on Easter. Whatever your reason—if you need one at all—dressing up is a big part of our culture here in the Bay Area and San Francisco Opera is about to give you a major leg up at your next costumed event! Our amazing costume department is culling through racks, drawers, shelves and boxes from floor to ceiling to offer up hundreds of items for sale at our Costume Shop Sale on March 22 & 23! You do not want to miss this. Trust us.


For only the fifth time in our 91-year history, we are offering up for sale hundreds of stylish and exotic items, including medieval, biblical, Renaissance, and 18th-century costumes; modern and vintage clothing previously worn in San Francisco Opera productions; hats, masks, armor, gloves, belts and jewelry; handmade costumes spanning a wide variety of styles and periods; and wild conceptual and fantasy costumes that defy description. Also on sale will be crafting supplies, beads and findings as well as a wide variety of fabrics including vintage
textiles, laces and brocades.

Among the items available for sale are hand woven biblical costumes from the 2013 world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene; spectacular 19th-century costumes from Eugene Onegin, hand-painted fantasy costumes from Pelléas et Mélisande; elaborate 18th-century costumes from Don Giovanni ; studded leather jerkins from Die Meistersinger; as well as costumes from The Flying Dutchman, Carmen, and Katya Kabanova. The sale includes costumes worn by some of opera’s greatest luminaries at San Francisco Opera and pieces by noted fashion designers such as iconic geniuses Gianni Versace and Christian Lacroix.

While they’ve been scouring the costume shop and gathering up costumes to sell at the Costume Shop Sale, they’ve also been collecting more current and purchased items to support some great causes. The modern clothes featured in many of our more contemporary productions have been collected, sorted and donated to a variety of local organizations: career wear and business suits were donated to the resale shop at the St. Vincent DePaul Society, coats and sweaters will be donated to Glide Memorial Church for their homeless outreach program and casual modern clothing has been donated to both Goodwill and Out of the Closet. That’s not all! In addition, the shop has donated piles and piles of items including leather, textiles, trims, feathers, buttons, beads, findings and patterns to SCRAP. If you’re not familiar with it, SCRAP is a non-profit creative reuse center, materials depot, and workshop space in San Francisco. SCRAP breathes new life into old objects and reduces waste by diverting over 200 tons of materials heading to landfill every year. Donations of quality re-usable materials such as textiles, buttons, paper, craft and office supplies, plastics, and wood are collected from businesses, institutions, and individuals then sorted and made available to teachers, parents, artists, and organizations. In other words: we’re so proud of our costume shop for responsibly taking this opportunity to not only offer up unique costumes for sale to the public, but to also donate more conventionally useful items to deserving organizations throughout the city.

Costume Shop Sale Details:
San Francisco Opera Costume Shop Sale Saturday, March 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (no admittance after 4:30 p.m.) and Sunday, March 23 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (no admittance after 3:30 p.m.) at the San Francisco Opera Scene Shop, located at 800 Indiana Street (between 20th and 22nd Streets) in San Francisco. Prices range from $1 to $750; costumes from the special opera luminaries collection are available upon request. Cash and credit card only accepted; no checks. All sales are final and benefit San Francisco Opera.  For more information, visit

Photos by Betsy Kershner, Mike Harvey & Christopher Verdosci.

Posted: 3/6/2014 1:40:30 PM by San Francisco Opera


Backstage at San Francisco Opera is a fascinating, fast-moving, mysterious and sacred space for the Company’s singers, musicians, dancers, technicians and production crews. Musical and staging rehearsals are on-going, scenery is loaded in and taken out, lighting cues are set, costumes and wigs are moved around and everything is made ready to receive the audience. From the principal singers, chorus and orchestra musicians to the creative teams for each opera, in addition to the many talented folks who don’t take a bow on stage, this blog offers unique insight, both thought-provoking and light-hearted, into the life backstage at San Francisco Opera.


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