A Night At The Opera: Make up tips from the serious professionals

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Now I’m guessing that if you really wanted info on Liverpool’s opera scene, you wouldn’t be searching right here, although you never know, Sassy Birds are nothing if not diverse…

So I went to the Empire to see Sweeney Todd performed by the Welsh National Opera.  Admittedly it’s not my usual venue for getting hammered on a Friday night, but it never does any harm to broaden one’s horizons. FYI, it was very funny and rude (and I found the men opera singers strangely attractive)

Anyway, I took the opportunity to have a gab with the wig and make up department. After all, the party season is nearly here and I need to up my make up game…

The lovely press officer Branwen Jones took me backstage to meet Sian, Rhiannon,Bethan and Leanne, who were whirling round in a dressing-up-box fantasy of gorgeous wigs, costumes, sparkly things and (oddly) fake blood. Now I just need to point out that looking in a dressing room mirror is not a great idea if you’re ego is fragile. The lighting is brutal, think Topshop changing rooms crossed with hairdressers, times a hundred. I looked like I’d been made up to look like a corpse. Needless to say, the make-up girls looked flawless.

Me: *a bit sulkily* You all look lovely.

Girls: *Laughs* This is to hide a hangover. We all got up from Cardiff last night, and were out at a silent disco in Heebiee Jeebies until  4am. It was the best night!

Me: *Strangely proud, like I was solely responsible for Liverpool nightlife* Oh that’s boss! And I KNEW make up could be used to hide a hangover…how do you do that?

Girls:  You just wear a lot of make up…

Me: Ah. *Has brainwave* What the hell is contouring? Why can‘t I do it? Can you do it?

Girls: *Laughs, again,* It’s simply creating a look using light and shade where it would naturally fall, using bronzer and highlighter.

Me: Isn’t that just, like, blusher?

Girls: Well, yes.

Me: So who keeps raising the bar? Why can’t we just say blusher?

Girls: *In unison* Kim Kardashian…

Me: *Another brainwave* How do you stop make up from sliding off when you’re all sweaty from dancing, um, I mean whilst on stage?

Girls: You can’t. You just have to put a lot on and keep on applying it. The most important thing is that the eyebrows are strong as they are the most visible from the audience.

Me: Yeah we’re big on eyebrows up here too. I see your using MAC products. Liverpool girls love their MAC. I’m afraid of it. The foundation makes me look like I’ve got a big wet face. Can you help?

Girls: Put a dab on the back of your hand and rub it hard before dabbing onto your face. This intensifies it and makes it less sheer, therefore more coverage. We like Bobbi Brown or Chanel stuff too.

Feeling pleased with my new found knowledge I asked to see one of the female leads being transformed into her character. I expected to see an enormous middle aged scary lady wearing a Viking helmet, but was introduced to the completely normal and very cute Soraya who kindly let me take a before and after picture. I watched, enthralled as she was transformed by wigs and brushes (fucking contouring) into a Disney princess. (Well, not really a princess, her character was a serial killers’ daughter, but you get my drift.)

We chatted about how she got into opera singing and orchestras, and how opera wasn’t just for toffs, but I just had to ask,

Me: Do you like MAC make up?

Opera singer: It’s OK. I prefer Laura Mercier.

Jesus, just for once can’t someone rave about Rimmel….

So to sum up, this is what I learned about opera.

  1. Throwing on a load of make up can hide a hangover,
  2. You can’t stop foundation from sliding off when you’re fist pumping at 5am in gbar, and
  3. Contouring is not going to go away. Blame Kim Kardashian.

Sweeney Todd performed by the Welsh National Opera is touring the UK at the moment – click here to find out more about booking tickets and when it’s going to be near you.

XOXO

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