Duo creates enchanted characters for the oper

Style. Check. Makeup. Check. Hit the lights and let the opera begin.

Styling the show: Makeup artist Missy MacKintosh and costume designer Keren Huyter of Salmon Arm

Style. Check.

Makeup. Check.

Hit the lights and let the opera begin.

Dynamic duo Missy MacKintosh and Keren Huyter showcased their talents with Opera Kelowna in August.

MacKintosh was the director in styling while Huyter created costumes for Mozart’s Magic Flute.

The Salmon Arm locals impressed artistic director Alexandra Kosachukova Babbel, who had worked with MacKintosh in the past, but not Huyter.

“The collaboration between the two of them was most impressive.

“They would finish each other’s sentences,” said Babbel.

The pair not only finished each other’s sentences, but share the same creative mindset.

“(Huyter) visualized exactly what I wanted,” said MacKintosh, 30.

“We would talk it out and see it, all of us were on the same level,” said Huyter.

In 2015, MacKintosh was a part of the opera’s third annual fashion fundraiser, Let Them Eat Cake.

Magic Flute was in need of a costume designer, so MacKintosh recommended Huyter.

“It was apparent very early on that (Huyter) knew her stuff. I don’t need to search anymore. I’ve found what I’m searching for,” said Babbel.

The theme of the opera revolves around enchantment, which MacKintosh described as a cross between The Brothers Grimm and German folklore.

The enchanted forest of the Magic Flute is interpreted through the eyes of a child, said Babbel.

So, in MacKintosh’s eyes, “it’s eye catching, the opera needs to be stimulating,” she said.

For Huyter, nerves ran rampant with her first large production.

“I was terrified at first. But, I’m pretty picky,” she said.

Getting the feel of the characters can be tricky, however, and requires searching for the right ideas.

MacKintosh had trouble getting an idea for the makeup for the Queen of the Night.

She wanted the queen to be bright but also dark, following the theme of the opera.

It wasn’t until she watched the Hunger Games, that she found her queen.

She was inspired by Ve Neill, a makeup artist from California, who designed Katniss Everdeen’s winged lashes in the scene with the flaming chariot.

“The queen was like my masterpiece. I wanted her to be epic, but not over the top. I used Pinterest for bird makeup,” she said.

For the last two years, MacKintosh has been working as a makeup artist full time.

The Canoe resident enjoys putting makeup on other people, rather than herself, and is the organizer for the Salmon Arm Bridal Show, which will be held in November.

She obtained her diploma at Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver, and remembers drawing makeup on dolls at a young age.

Huyter is the opposite. Having no official schooling in costume design, she created costumes in high school for theatre productions.

To get ideas for the opera, the 39-year-old used friend Ellen Gonella, who was familiar with the performance.

“I used a lot of Pinterest. I’m lucky (Gonella) knew exactly what I was talking about.”

Her business, Huyter House Sewing and Design, became full-time with the renovation of her shop in May, 2015.

She’s known for her family costumes, dressing up as Batman characters with her husband and four boys.

For Mozart’s opera, she sewed costumes for seven main characters, around 19 supporting characters and a 33-person chorus.

“It was a lot of late nights. I’m really good at working under pressure,” she said.

Her inspiration comes from movies like Alice in Wonderland, shows and Disney characters, like Maleficent, who she drew on for colours to create the queen.

Now, she’s creating costumes for Mary Poppins at the Shuswap Theatre and does sewing and hemming when not working on productions.

The duo will be collaborating with their creative abilities again in 2017, for Kelowna Opera’s planned production of Puccini’s La Bohème.


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