The Handkerchief

Hanky at the Ready

Hanky at the Ready

Constance loves the Opera, and usually rides in my pocket when I go to a performance. Last night we attended the Pacific Opera Victoria’s offering of Verdi’s tragedy of Otello. Constance made sure she had her hankie with her this time as the sleeves of her opera dress were rather damp at the end of  Madama Butterfly last spring.

 The Quimper Hitty human works with textiles in her day job, and is always keen to see how fabrics are used in a production.  The POV production used video projected onto large panels of cloth, which added to the sense of atmosphere (the big storm at the beginning was particularly seasicky). The costumes for this Otello were great and gave a renaissance flavour to the evening (though we were not wild about Desdemona’s nightgown).

We are especially interested when twists of the plot rely on textiles…in this case, a fatal handkerchief! This square of embroidered and lace edged cloth is Desdemona’s favourite love token –  given to her by Otello, and supposedly made by a 200 year old sibyl who dyed embroidery threads with the juice from the hearts of Egyptian mummies!!! Desdemona uses this symbolically fraught hanky to mop Otello’s brow when he is ailing. But then Otello drops the hanky, Emilia retrieves it, Iago plants it, Rodrigo finds it in his bedroom, Otello accuses, Desdemona denies.  At the end of the opera there is remorse, and blood and bodies all over the stage, all because of the handkerchief, which doesn’t even get to be present for the curtain call.

Opera plots can be convoluted and unbelievable, and it doesn’t do to try and figure them out too much.  Constance and I think going to the Opera is an enjoyable way to spend an evening –  listening to live music, and supporting local artists while in good company.

To view Constance’s other opera experiences go to this link.

To view the Quimper Hittys adventures with an Othello Cake  go to this link.



9 thoughts on “The Handkerchief

  1. So much to talk about!!!! Yes, I might make sure Constance has a firm grip on that hankie…doesn’t do to leave them where others can use them to create mischief! We shall have to check out the POV website and see photos of the projections…inspiration and instruction!

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