Slideshow Displays Students’ Costume Sketches for Opera Memphis Production

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Publication Date: 10/30/2008

In January 2009, Opera Memphis will present “Scott Joplin and Treemonisha.” Three Rhodes students--La’Sandria Ward ’09, Katie Grills ’10 and Natalija Kokoreva ’10--conducted extensive background and conceptual research to develop a preliminary costume design for the production while participating as Curb Fellows in the summer 2008 Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies. They will continue the collaborative process of realizing a costume design for the opera with David Jilg ’79, Associate Professor of Theatre, as their faculty mentor.

“Treemonisha,” the first of two operas Joplin composed, tells the story of an African-American girl in the South after the Civil War who rejects the superstitions ingrained in her community. The Opera Memphis production presents the challenges Joplin faced in getting his opera produced in the early 20th century. 

The Rhodes students thoroughly researched the opera’s setting and Joplin’s life as well as clothing styles from the two historical periods.  A slide show of their designs is now available as a Web extra for the Fall 2008 Rhodes magazine.