The Teatro Real of Madrid and Teatro Español have joined, for the first time, in a cultural project staging the world premiere of Je suis narcissiste, an opera buffa by Spanish composer Raquel García-Tomás, on a libretto by Helena Tornero. The work denounces with humor the delirious narcissism prevailing in current societies. The project features a young team, although already consolidated in the Spanish cultural scene, that has set up a story full of freshness and black humor. The story tells how Clotilde, a cultural manager who encounters all kinds of misfortunes is overwhelmed by her daily life and the relationship with the diverse and eccentric characters surrounding her. The opera buffa aims at dismantling an obsolete idea of woman through the black humor of two contemporary women. Stage director Marta Pazos could count on the overflowing creativity of costume designer Pier Paolo Álvaro, whose colorful figurines support the plot, between reverie and absurdity, and shine under the lighting designed by Nuno Meira. All of them framed by the set designed by Fernando Ribeiro.
“The world of Je suis narcissiste” says Pier Paolo Álvaro, ” would not have been possible without the conceptual contributions of director Marta Pazos who, with great generosity gave me the freedom to create different costumes for the universe inhabited by narcissists that Clotilde had to cross in order to overcome her personal crisis. For my creative and inspirational process, it was decisive to understand that the world of Je suis narcisisste had great similarities with the stylistic concept of Alice in Wonderland and with the magic realism of René Magritte. But it is definitely synesthesia that allowed me to determine the concept for this wardrobe, it allowed me to involuntarily associate music with colors. Thanks to it, I was able to experience the possibility of visualizing the forms, structures, movements, textures, and materials that would be, in short, what was going to generate the silhouette of a series of figurines that have a personality, a life of their own.”
The costumes, featuring cuts meant to be original and flattering for the performers’ silhouette are realized with different materials, emphasizing the noble, such as silk and gauze, and the technological, such as neoprene, plastic, and 3D. Some materials are traditionally dyed others are digitally printed. “We had the important task of making each of the designs almost independently handcrafted,” Álvaro concludes, “and in some cases, we resorted to draping to create an outfit with an even more authentic result.”