Norwich soprano’s Vivienne Westwood dress being auctioned for charity
18:02 16 September 2014
Norwich soprano Elizabeth Watts looked a million dollars as she sung at the Last Night of the Proms while wearing a stunning Vivienne Westwood gown.
The world famous fashion designer had donated the dress for Ms Watts’ performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and now it is hoped it will raise lots of money for Streetwise Opera, a charity that uses music to help homeless people make positive changes in their lives.
The dress is being auctioned on eBay and bidding continues until Thursday.
Ms Watts, who is patron of Streetwise Opera, performed Strauss’ cantata Taillefer at the prestigious event on Saturday which was broadcast to millions on BBC Two and BBC Radio Three.
The dress she wore was described as a long draped ‘Cane’ corset gown with a smocked train detailing in a midnight blue striped silk organza.
She said: “I’ve never worn such an amazing designer dress before, it was so comfortable and very flattering.
“I can’t imagine anyone not feeling like a million dollars in it. Speaking of a million dollars, perhaps we could raise something like that through the auction for Streetwise Opera! But seriously, I hope it raises as much as possible for this amazing charity.”
Ms Watts, a former Norwich Cathedral chorister, grew up in Hethersett and went to Norwich High School for Girls.
Her musical career has seen her go on to become an international opera singer and she is now a regular soloist in some of the most respected opera houses in the world. This year she won critical-acclaim as Zerlina in the Royal Opera House’s production of Don Giovanni.
Her performance of Taillefer on Saturday was part of the Proms’ 150th anniversary celebrations of Richard Strauss, and the work tells the story of the Battle of Hastings and the heroic deeds of William the Conqueror’s minstrel Taillefer.
Matt Peacock, CEO of Streetwise Opera, said: “As soon as Elizabeth found out she was singing at the Last Night of the Proms she approached us and suggested her brilliant plan. When we approached Dame Vivienne Westwood, her team immediately said they would donate a dress and have been incredibly generous all the way through the process. We are so grateful to them and to Elizabeth for supporting Streetwise Opera in this way.”
Streetwise Opera stages opera productions with homeless people and a regular music programme in homeless centres throughout England and Wales, with the aim of building performers’ well-being and social networks.
• The dress auction runs until Thursday.
• For more about Streetwise Opera visit www.streetwiseopera.org
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Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at email@example.com