Opera Scotland

Annena Stubbs Suggest updates

Mary Annena Stubbs.

Born Liverpool, 13 August 1924.

Died London, 30 July 2016.

English costume designer.

Annena Stubbs was a highly successful costume designer in opera, dance and drama, working extensively with Sadler's Wells and Welsh National Operas and the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. Her designs were seen at several Festivals, including Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Buxton and Wexford. She also designed in other countries, notably France, Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel, Bulgaria and Canada. For many years she designed the costumes to accompany sets designed by Ralph Koltai, who was her husband from 1954 to 1976.

She spent some time, towards the end of the war, as a nursing auxiliary, before doing a foundation course at Chester School of Arts. She then gained a place in London, to continue her training at the Central School of Arts and Crafts.

Designs for Sadler's Wells Opera (ENO) spanned a period of nearly thirty years, and included Samson and Delilah, Murder in the Cathedral (Pizzetti), CarmenRigoletto, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, and Anna Karenina (Hamilton 1981). New Opera Company productions at Sadler's Wells Theatre included British premieres of Il prigioniero (Dallapiccola 1959) and Boulevard Solitude (Henze 1962). For Aldeburgh she designed the first productions of Britten's Church Parables - Curlew River (1964), The Burning Fiery Furnace (1966) and The Prodigal Son (1968), which were all brought to the 1968 Edinburgh Festival. She also worked at Welsh National Opera (Don Giovanni, The Midsummer Marriage).

Opera designs abroad included Lyon (Zimmermann's Die Soldaten), Aalborg (Mahagonny) and Hong Kong (The Flying Dutchman, La traviata).

Drama designs included work for the Royal Shakespeare Company (Macbeth, The Caucasian Chalk  Circle); National Theatre (The Dutch Courtesan) and, in Canada, the Shakespeare Festival of Stratford, Ontario (Othello).

Sources: Programme notes and obituaries (Guardian).

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