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Double Deck Metropolitan Opera Guild “Opera” Playing Cards, Maker Unknown, Patricia Zipprodt Designs, c.1980
Wonderful double deck of “Opera” cards published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc., c.1980, featuring the brilliant original designs of Patricia Zipprodt. The cards were made in the U.S.A., but otherwise I do not know the maker. The court cards and Jokers are famous opera characters. In her obituary in 1999, the New York Times summarized her career and accomplishments:
“Quite simply, as a headline writer once put it, Ms. Zipprodt had the gift of garb. In her youth she studied art, and then one day at the ballet she discovered her calling. She wanted to make the dresses.
“’I’ll design for the ballet,’ she recalled telling herself. ‘I'll paint with fabric.’
‘Years later she described a play as a painting that moves. '’Instead of it holding still and you look at it, you hold still and it scrolls by,'’ she said. “Although she realized her early dream of designing costumes for ballet, she also designed for scores of Broadway shows, won Tony Awards for 'Fiddler on the Roof’ (1964), 'Cabaret' (1966) and 'Sweet Charity' (1985), along with many other prizes.
“Her costumes graced musicals like 'Pippin' (1972) and 'Chicago' (1975), Broadway plays like 'Plaza Suite' (1968), 'Brighton Beach Memoirs' (1983) and 'The Glass Menagerie' (1983).
“Off Broadway, her credits included 'Our Town' (1959), 'The Balcony' (1960), 'Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad' (1962) and 'The Blacks' (1962).
“She did wardrobes for the Boston Opera, the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera and for American Ballet Theater, the New York City Ballet, the Houston Ballet and Ballet Hispanico.
“In Hollywood she left her imprint on 'The Graduate' (1967). On television she designed costumes for productions like 'The Glass Menagerie' on ABC in 1973 and 'Alice in Wonderland' on WNET in 1983.”
Each deck has 52 suited cards, including an original Ace of Spades, plus 2 Jokers (“Rigoletto”), plus an extra card that identifies the opera characters depicted on the court cards and Jokers. The cards are bridge size, measuring 89mm x 58mm and come in a hard plastic box that is probably original.
The cards are in excellent condition, “as new” or very nearly so. The box is also in excellent condition, with only very slight scratches to the lid.
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