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Friday, December 14, 2018

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Denitsa Bliznakova Denitsa Bliznakova

SDSU Professor Makes It Big at LA Opera

SDSU professor Denitsa Bliznakova designs costumes for all principal characters in Carmen.
By Teresa Monaco

“I feel inspired as a designer and professor at SDSU, and I hope to share this with everyone I work with.”

A professor in San Diego State University’s School of Theatre, Television, and Film is leaving her mark on the Los Angeles Opera—the fourth-largest opera company in the United States—and having fun while doing it.

Since last summer, Denitsa Bliznakova has been hard at work designing costumes for the LA Opera’s production of “Carmen.” She was tasked with redesigning the costumes for all of the principal characters and created more than 100 costume sketches in about a month. Bliznakova stresses the important role that research plays in designing costumes for a specific period and setting.

“It requires extensive knowledge of world history, social and cultural awareness, art and design,” she said.

According to Bliznakova, the work is one of the most exciting opportunities of her career, as the the LA Opera costume shop is one of the best in the world.

“The people were a great pleasure to work with,” she said. “Their speed and perfect execution of each design was impressive. The hard work paid off by the end and there were many smiles and cheers as each design got completed.”

Art as a refuge

Bliznakova did not take an interest in fashion design until her family immigrated to the United States from Bulgaria in 1990.

“I did not know English or much about American culture, so I found myself taking refuge in the arts,” Bliznakova said.

She attended Parsons School of Design in Paris and New York, which is where she discovered her love for fashion design. She continued on to obtain an MFA degree in Theatre Design at Brandeis University, and has been working as a designer for live performance for the past 16 years.

“Growing up, I played the piano and studied classical music, so working on an opera feels very natural,” Bliznakova said. “It combines my passion for classical music with art and design. The opera community consists of artists from all over the world. Among the various backgrounds and different languages, music is the unifying factor. It truly feels like home to me.”

Giving back

Bliznakova continues to hone her craft with each show she is involved in and enjoys working with artists who share her goals.

“You are reminded daily that your work cannot exist on its own,” Bliznakova said. “It only becomes ‘real’ and meaningful when it appears as part of something bigger.”

As Bliznakova completes this milestone in her career, she looks forward to continuing to share her passion and expertise with students, faculty and staff at SDSU’s School of Theatre, Television, and Film.

“I consider myself lucky to have found the path that led me to where I am today," Bliznakova said. "On the way, I was helped and encouraged by many role models and mentors,” Bliznakova said. “I feel inspired as a designer and professor at SDSU, and I hope to share this with everyone I work with.”