No one expected Tristan and Isolde to trade their somber dark cloaks for something a little giddy. But many attending Sunday's new production of Richard Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde"--part of the Los Angeles Music Center Opera's 1987-88 season--seemed to compensate for the unhappy lovers on stage with uplifting, festive attire.
Though Mikhail Baryshnikov took the casual road in brown plaid jacket and jeans, the mixed crowd of arts patrons and celebrities leaned toward tuxedos and chic, knee-length black dresses. The gala brought out the classic side of L.A. night life--most baroque folk were somewhere else.
Artist David Hockney, set and costume designer for the opera and the most visible local celebrity of the night, set the standard tasteful tone in double-breasted tuxedo and dotted bow tie. Elsewhere, plaids appeared in a bumper crop. And in what seems to be a staple at Music Center productions, numerous men and women trod in wearing solid-color businesslike suits--the better to be unobtrusive.
The sold-out event, attended by 3,000 people at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, was followed by a party in the Grand Hall for key supporters of the opera.
The AT&T-sponsored production of "Tristan und Isolde," conducted by Zubin Mehta and directed by Jonathan Miller, ends a six-performance run Dec. 20.