Mermaid or murderer? Thousands of opera costumes for sale
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Bargain hunters at the sale. Photo: Jeroen Jumelet ANP

The Dutch national ballet and opera are selling thousands of old costumes this weekend, ranging in price from €1 to €450 – although a huge pink ball dress from a production of The Barber of Seville has a price tag of €1,250.  

The clothes and other items, including hats, shoes and roles of fabric, come from 60 National Opera productions and one from the National Ballet – Don Giovanni.

The items range from a mermaid’s tail and an ant costume from The Sly Fox, to glamorous ball dresses to blood-stained shirts from a production of MacBeth

A ticket to visit the sale cost €7.50 and was sold out almost immediately when tickets were released at the start of the month. The proceeds from the sale will go on developing a barcode system so the whole costume and make up department can be digitalised. 

It is the biggest sale in the organisation’s history and new items will be added to the racks throughout the day. This, the organisers say, means that everyone who comes to the location in Amsterdam Zuidoost will be able to pick up something special. 

“We try to recycle items as much as possible and that is why we keep everything in a massive storage location,” a spokesman said. “Some of the costumes are extremely specific, others have not been used for a long time. But we are selling them off so that they can have a new life.” 

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