Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Visible at the Opera

Some bad news and some good news recently: my favourite boutique here in Small Island City closed last month. The vivacious owner decided that she'd had enough fun during her ten years as shop owner and was now ready to enjoy retirement. While attempts were made to sell the business, it's hardly the economic climate for that right now, and instead, the windows were emptied, racks cleared, shelves purged.

Which gets me to the good news: I happened to stop by for a retail visit three days before the doors would close forever. While that meant I'd missed most of the goodies (probably better for my post-Christmas wallet), I scooped up a few treasures at the crazy price of $25 each. This stretch-velvet dress by Sandwich was one such bargain -- regularly priced at something around $200.

Perfect for the opera, and I imagine it will see me through a few Christmas-season occasions as well, over the next few years. I love an easy-fitting sheath, made even easier by the fabric's give. The shoes (Fluevog Operetta Giulias) are perhaps too heavy -- I like the dress better with slightly higher heels and a bit more strappiness, but besides my 14K run that morning, we did considerable walking throughout the day, and I decided to spare my feet.

Enlarge the top photo if you'd like a better view of my beloved WendyB fleur-de-lis necklace -- I was surprised how well such a small piece stood out against the velvet, so much so that I received several compliments on it during the evening.
Can you spot my faithful photographer in the shot above? 
As for the opera itself, what fun! Paul's favourite for its memorable music, The Barber of Seville is a lively romp anyway, but the Vancouver Opera Asoociation ramped up the fun with a Looney-tunes inspired production. I wasn't completely convinced by the 1940s Spain film set, but Figaro as stylist rather than simply a barber made sense -- as well as making for some clever slapstick. Solid acting throughout, and most importantly, the singing satisfied, and the orchestra did as well. I'm still humming snatches of arias, hearing rhythms, smiling at remembered images.
As well, we enjoyed visiting during the intermission with friends we've made who have subscriptions for the same night as we do. In fact, we even got photographed as we chatted with another couple, our photo added (with our permission) to the VOA's Facebook page, Fashion at the Opera
There are several more performances -- notably a matinee next weekend which makes the opera more manageable for families (I see they're offering a fabulously-priced Family Pack, what a deal!), as well as for seniors like my mother who find evening performances more difficult to get to.
I assure you that I get no recompense at all for recommending this production to any Vancouver readers -- but if you can manage it, you won't regret it!

I'm going to try to link up to Visible Monday once again, even if it is Tuesday now -- life is so busy these days, isn't it?! Still, if you can find the time, take a peek at Patti's collection of Visible Bloggers -- always fun.


27 comments:

  1. Gorgeous dress, and what's the point of having strappy shoes if they cramp your style?

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    1. The strappy shoes do look good and I can often manage them, but sometimes it's not worth the pain!

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  2. What a fabulous shopping score! The color is beautiful on you, and the simplicity of the dress means that it "plays well with others." Someday I'd love to see Barber of Seville; that really sounds like some clever and inspired staging!

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    1. Thanks, Sue -- it's really a treasure of a dress, for $25!!
      I hope you do get to see Barber someday. It's an easy opera to love.

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  3. Velvet dresses are among my favourite things and this is a gorgeous colour on you! A 'fitting' memento of a favourite shop. I feel such a wrench when they close, even if for happy reasons. They are not, in my experience, easily replaced- if ever.

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    1. You're so right -- this won't be easily replaced at all, and I'm really going to miss it.

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  4. I too love a velvet dress, and this one looks dreamy. Wonderful find, Frances, but sorry one of your shops is closing. I enjoyed seeing you at the Opera in Facebook! And thanks so much for sharing with Visible Monday.

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    1. Thanks, Patti, and thanks again for hosting VM.

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  5. Blue velvet is always lovely! One summer I made costumes for an opera house (at my graduate school), and "Barber" was one of our shows . . .

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    1. Funny, until reading your comment, I hadn't thought of the song -- now it's promising to be a persistent earworm! Working on Barber costumes, fun! (and you really have a rich CV, don't you?!)

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  6. I love your dress, your entire ensemble! Opera-worthy indeed. How fun. Velvet is so luxurious. I don't think I can make it to this production, but don't think I wouldn't love to! I hope people were not wearing jeans - the last couple cultural events I went to the lobby was dotted with people in khakis and denim. It was sad. I'm glad to see you keeping the sense of occasion alive and kicking!

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    1. Melanie, it's fun to look through the VOA FB page of Fashion at the Opera -- there's a wide, wide range of Vancouver style. I certainly don't go all the way (or even half!) of opera-style potential, but I do like to treat it as a dress-up occasion. Part of the fun! btw, Aida's up next to close the season.

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  7. Mater, the dress is so elegant. I love it on you! The necklace looks great on it, yes. Now you know why jewelers present their bling in little velvet boxes! I think you should offer to buy that shop!!!Can you get one of your girls to run it?

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    1. Wouldn't it be fun to run a little shop like that? Too bad about the day job! And sadly/happily, all my daughters are quite well employed otherwise. Lovely, btw, to have you commenting here -- miss you.

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  8. You look fantastic!! I'm not usually a fan of velvet but you make it look so unfussy. Maybe it's your hair? Maybe it's the cut? Your ephemeral sense of style? Who cares. It's great.

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    1. Aw, you're sweet. I like velvet very much in really simple lines. And yes, my hair is probably the exact opposite of fussy!

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  9. Yes, Sandwich - one of my favourite lines. I'm not sure which Small Island City you mean, but I hope it's not one of the shops I visit when I am up-Island. Your new dress is lovely.
    I have enjoyed the various discussions regarding our self-image etc. As I approach another big 0 birthday I find myself more critical of my physical self in some ways, and more relaxed in others. Why did I think that this stage might have been easier than any of the others?

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    1. I hear you on the big birthday -- I've got one coming up next year, and I'm thinking back over the decade with mixed feelings. Interesting. . . .
      As for the shop/city, it's A to Zebra in Nanaimo, such a loss for our little downtown.

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  10. Wow, wow, wow. Gorgeous. That is a good color on you, as is the velvet texture, as is the simple silhouette. And the shoes look fine from here:).

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Still not sure about the shoes, but oh, are they ever great for walking, considering they have a 2.5 inch heel.

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  11. Velvet, opera, Christmas - yes! And a truly wonderful, versatile color to boot. Yes: score!

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  12. Just came back from up your way...there was snow!

    I love that Sandwich dress and the colour really suits you!
    What an incredible buy.

    The long time lingerie shop I patronized closed the same way your fave shop did.
    Boo Hoo now I'll need to go across the pond to buy my Chantelle's.

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    1. Ah, we had all the weather this week -- sun, rain, hail, snow. . . crazy times!
      So sorry your lingerie shop closed -- we really miss these spots in our communities, so sad to see them go.

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  13. I am catching up on a week's worth of missed posts. This dress is so beautiful it is paid off my persistence. What a lucky buy.

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    1. I couldn't believe I lucked out, to tell you the truth -- wonder what it languished til the last two days of the sale, marked down again and again. Good for me!

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