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21 February 2014

Turandot ● by Jess

When I was about ten, I considered myself to be a connoisseur of picture books (really I was just a miniature snob with a very narrow definition of what good illustration was). I thought, if books and art were going to go together, then the illustration better be incredible.

One of the few to made the cut for wee little Jessica, was a book called Turandot, illustrated by Winslow Pels (you can see many of the original illustrations here). The book tells the story of the opera by Puccini and I *LOVED* it. Because of that book, I've spent the last 15 years anxious to see the real thing. Last night Jon took me to see it, and it blew my mind.

Suddenly realizing that is the receipt and not the actual ticket... but who can really tell the difference?

First we went out to eat at Cafe des Amis, which was a lovely little French restaurant just around the corner from the Royal Opera House. The proximity and ambiance were fabulous... the food was less so (I'd say 6 out of 10), but nothing was going to dampen my excitement.

We are clearly in nose-bleed territory, but we were center.... ish! I love being on the mezzanine.

The opera itself was INCREDIBLE. It was exactly the way I love my theatre-- with beautiful music and tons of visual artistry. The costumes, staging, sets, and (above all) the lighting were epic. The opening of Scene III felt like a painting, and paired with Nessun Dorma-- oh boy! I don't think it gets much better than that.

Afterwards, we made a quick stop at Shake Shack (a must-do EVERY time we are near Covent Garden) for milkshakes and "chips." I don't think my little 10-year-old self could have imagined a better evening.

One of the things that made it especially fun was that I finished my dress! And not only did I finish it-- I did for only £17-- a whole £3 under budget! WOOT!

It came out pretty close to my original design, although the back is a tidge different. I created it by deconstructing 4 original pieces (an oversized red skirt lining, lace blouse, beaded crop tank, and tank with soft cup bra inset) and resewing the individual pieces to create my dress.

I'm literally baffled that I found the exact pieces I was hoping for at Primark (the very crucial beaded top was on sale for only £3-- I almost hugged the retail associate that pointed it out). Anyway, many hours of sewing later I was pretty happy with the result. In hindsight, the hook and eye clasps on the back of the top half were probably not the best idea...And after looking at these photos I can see some seaming that looks like it could have used a little more love.  Things to remember for next time! :)