Picturing Performance

Book descriptions below provided by publishers:

On the Bookshelf


Through Amateur Eyes by Frances Guerin

Call Number: DD253 .G844 2012

ISBN: 9780816670062

Publication Date: 2011-11-30

We have seen the films of professionals and propagandists celebrate Adolf Hitler, his SS henchmen, and the Nazi Party. But what of the documentary films and photographs of amateurs, soldiers, and others involved in the war effort who were simply going about their lives amid death and destruction? And what of the films and photographs that want us to believe there was no death and destruction? This book asks how such images have shaped our memories and our memorialization of World War II and the Holocaust. Frances Guerin considers the implications of amateur films and photographs taken by soldiers, bystanders, resistance workers, and others in Nazi Germany. Her book explores how photographs taken by soldiers and bystanders on the Eastern Front, depictions of everyday life in the Lódz ghetto, and home movies and family albums of Hitler's mistress Eva Braun, among others, can challenge the conventional idea that such images reflect Nazi ideology because they are taken by perpetrators and sympathizers. Through Amateur Eyes upsets our expectations and demonstrates how these images can be understood as chillingly unrehearsed images of war, trauma, and loss. Many of these images have been reused--often unacknowledged--in contemporary narratives memorializing World War II: museum exhibitions, made-for-television documentaries, documentary films, and the Internet. Guerin shows how modern uses of these images often reinforce well-rehearsed narratives of cultural memory. She offers a critical new perspective on how we can incorporate such still and moving images into processes of witnessing the traumas of the past in the present moment.
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History of Dance by Mary Clark

Call Number: GV1601 .C7 1981

ISBN: 9780517542828

Publication Date: 1988-12-12


Exhausting Dance by Andre Lepecki

Call Number: GV1782.5 .L47 2006

ISBN: 0415362539

Publication Date: 2006-01-24

Traces the development of primitive, religious, folk, Eastern, social, stage, and modern dance, including ballet, and focuses on the important dancers, choreographers, and styles. The only scholarly book in English dedicated to recent European contemporary dance, Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement examines the work of key contemporary choreographers who have transformed the dance scene since the early 1990s in Europe and the US. Through their vivid and explicit dialogue with performance art, visual arts and critical theory from the past thirty years, this new generation of choreographers challenge our understanding of dance by exhausting the concept of movement. Their work demands to be read as performed extensions of the radical politics implied in performance art, in post-structuralist and critical theory, in post-colonial theory, and in critical race studies. In this far-ranging and exceptional study, Andre Lepecki brilliantly analyzes the work of the choreographers: Jerome Bel (France), Juan Dominguez (Spain), Trisha Brown, La Ribot (Spain), Xavier Le Roy (France-Germany), and Vera Mantero (Portugal) and visual and performance artists: Bruce Nauman (US), and William Pope. L (US). dance, arguing for the necessity of a renewed engagement between dance studies and experimental artistic and philosophical practices.

Choreography by Sandra Cerny Minton

Call Number: GV1782.5 .M56 2007

ISBN: 9780736064767

Publication Date: 2007-05-29

Choreography: A Basic Approach Using Improvisation is the complete guide to understanding the entire process of choreography, from concept to stage production. Thousands of dancers and dance instructors have used the first two editions of this book to solve common challenges in choreography, improvise movement phrases, expand movements into dances, and organize dances into complete productions and concerts. This updated edition includes examples of how today's multimedia technology can be used to enhance choreography with special lighting effects, slide and PowerPoint projections, virtual dance performances, video conferencing, and motion capture. Each chapter contains movement exploration exercises, review and reflection questions, and application challenges that will help readers develop a better understanding of the choreographic concepts provided. And more than 70 high-quality photos provide a visual frame of reference and clarify key concepts. Choreography: A Basic Approach Using Improvisation bridges the theoretical and practical aspects of the choreographic process. It is an excellent reference for serious dancers, choreographers, dance instructors, and teachers who want to understand the creative process of transforming movement into dance.

American Ballet Theatre

American Ballet Theatre : Thirty-Six Years of Scenic and Costume Design, 1940-1976

Call Number: GV1786.A43 A45

Publication Date: c1976


The Art of Enchantment by Nancy Van Norman Baer (Editor)

Call Number: GV1786.B3 A77 1988

ISBN: 9780876637616

Publication Date: 1989-03-01


Publication Date: 2010-10-01

A beautifully illustrated book examining the life, work and creativity of Serge Diaghilev.

The Ballets Russes and Beyond by Davinia Caddy

Call Number: GV1786.B355 C34 2012

ISBN: 9781107014404

Publication Date: 2012-04-26

Belle-époque Paris witnessed the emergence of a vibrant and diverse dance scene, one that crystallized around the Ballets Russes, the Russian dance company formed by impresario Sergey Diaghilev. The company has long served as a convenient turning point in the history of dance, celebrated for its revolutionary choreography and innovative productions. This book presents a fresh slant on this much-told history. Focusing on the relation between music and dance, Davinia Caddy approaches the Ballets Russes with a wide-angled lens that embraces not just the choreographic, but also the cultural, political, theatrical and aesthetic contexts in which the company made its name. In addition, Caddy examines and interprets contemporary French dance practices, throwing new light on some of the most important debates and discourses of the day.

ISBN: 9780642541574

Publication Date: 2011-04-15

The Ballets Russes has engaged people for 100 years, ever since Russian-born Sergei Diaghilev created this dynamic avant-garde company. Diaghilev brought together some of the most important visual artists of the 20th century - Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Georges Braque, Giorgio de Chirico, Natalia Gonchorova and Mikhail Larionov and more - who worked as costume and stage designers with composers such as Igor Stravinky, choreographers such as Michel Fokine, and dancers such as Vaslav Nijinsky, infusing new life and creative energy into the performing arts of the time. Premiering in Paris, the Ballets Russes, for the brief period of its existence (1909 - 29), created exotic, extravagant, and charming theatrical spectacle but also critical discussion and technical innovation, as well as exuding glamour - and often creating scandal - wherever it appeared. The costumes featured in this book are drawn entirely from the National Gallery of Australia's world-renowned collection of Ballets Russes costumes and ephemera. Through the costumes, drawings, programs and posters, the visual spectacle of the Ballets Russes is brought back into view for a contemporary audience to appreciate the revolution it was and the ongoing influence it continues to have today. This book is a must for anyone interested in the performing arts, the intersection of art and design, and costume and fashion.

From Russia with Love by Roger Leong

Call Number: GV1789.2 .F76 1998

ISBN: 0642541167

Publication Date: 2000-01-01


Ballet and Fashion

Ballet and Fashion by Roger Leong

Call Number: GV1789.2 .L46 2012

ISBN: 9780724103638

Publication Date: 2013-05-19


ISBN: 0300074840

Publication Date: 1998-01-21

The Serge Lifar Collection of Theater Designs, Costumes, and Paintings at the Wadsworth Atheneum Serge Lifar, the last great protege dancer of famed Russian ballet producer Serge Diaghilev, collected paintings, set designs, and costume designs from Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and from his own later productions at the Paris Opera. In 1933 Lifar's European dance company met financial disaster on tour in the United States, and Lifar was forced to sell his collection to pay for return fires for his troupe. The $10,000 he received from the Wadsworth Atheneum's flamboyant and imaginative director A. Everett "Chick" Austin was considered extravagant at the time. This collection, recognized as invaluable evidence of the emergence of modernism in theater and in Western art, is today unrivaled as a comprehensive documentation of the Ballets Russes. This catalogue presents the 188 works of art and thirty-two costumes that compose the Serge Lifar Collection. It has been enlarged since 1933, most notably with the 1996 acquisition of original costumes. Most of the set and costume designs and all of the costumes were made for thirty-seven Ballet Russes productions, from the first in 1909 to the last in 1929. The Ballet Russes was one of the greatest artistic movements of the early twentieth century, which fused the efforts of composer, choreographer, dancer, and designer into total works of art. Diaghilev commissioned prominent Russian painters and artists from the School of Paris -- among them Bakst, Picasso, Matisse, Braque, and Miro -- to design sets and costumes. This book provides notes about each production and the corresponding items in the collection, as well as a new assessment of theimmediate impact and lasting influence of the renowned Ballet Russes.

Publication Date: 1975-05-20

Authored by one of the ballet's most respected experts, this volume includes scene-by-scene retellings of the most popular classic and contemporary ballets, as performed by the world's leading dance companies. Certain to delight long-time fans as well as those just discovering the beauty and drama of ballet.
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ISBN: 0856673927

Publication Date: 2003-05-02

Circus by Bruce Davidson (Photographer)

Call Number: GV1816 .D38 2007

ISBN: 9783865213662

Publication Date: 2007-08-01

One of the world's most influential photographers, Bruce Davidson, takes readers inside three midcentury big tops in images that are poetic, realistic and profound. He reveals not only the swiftly vanishing cultural phenomenon of the circus, but what might be called the eternal human circus. At a three-ring show in 1958 he climbed to the top of the tent to view the performances of the famous liontamer Clyde Beatty and human cannonball Hugo Zacchini. His deeper interest lay in the daily lives of circus performers and producers--the roustabouts and riggers, and the pretty girl who rode an elephant in what was called the "spec." He also made an intimate series of a dwarf clown. In 1965 at a huge multi-ring coliseum show, Davidson took a more critical look at performances under a steel-and-concrete environment; continuing behind the scenes, his vision became sharper and more surreal. And in 1967, Davidson caught the elegant exuberance of an Irish one-ring circus. He photographed the kinds of performances that are the essence of the medium, including a face-to-face encounter with an exceptional trapeze artist. Most of these pictures are published here for the first time.

ISBN: 081094636X

Publication Date: 2004-11-01

Text and photographs provide a history of the performance troupe Cirque du Soleil from its first performance in Quebec in 1984 to the present featuring its 2400-member crew and 500-member international cast.

ISBN: 9780892641369

Publication Date: 2002-11-21

This book explores responses to Tang Xianzu's classic play The Peony Pavilion (Mudan ting) from three distinct segments of its public-literati playwrights; professional performers of Kun opera; and quite recently, directors and audiences outside China. Catherine Swatek first examines two adaptations of the play by Tang's contemporaries, which point to the unconventionality of the original work. She goes on to explore how the play has been changed in later adaptations, up to its most recent productions by Peter Sellars and Chen Shi-Zheng in the United States and Europe. Catherine Swatek is Associate Professor, University of British Columbia. She has published several articles on premodern Chinese drama and on female representation in Chinese opera.

Theatre and Performance in Digital Culture by Matthew Causey

Call Number: PN1584 .C38 2006

ISBN: 0415368405

Publication Date: 2006-12-04

Matthew Causey explores the research fields of performance and theatre, new media and digital culture studies as well as art and aesthetics. He considers the history of the technological advances in the media and computer environments and the manner with which theatre and performance have evolved within these systems.

Publication Date: 1999-01-21

In this fascinating collection of more than three-dozen conversations on contemporary art and ideas, Bonnie Marranca and Gautam Dasgupta bring together influential performers, video artists, playwrights, filmmakers, composers, and critics to talk about the artistic process, the perception of artworks by audiences, and the complex aesthetic, social, and political interrelationships that artworks reflect in the life of a culture. At the center of inquiry are issues that have preoccupied arts discussion in the last quarter of the century, addressed here by the very artists and thinkers responsible for extending the boundaries of their chosen fields in their search for new artistic and critical languages. Conversations takes up a broad range of key questions. What is the nature of presence? How does one see? Where does meaning reside? Topics include the creative process, the impact of criticism and historical legacies, arts funding and education, the modernism/postmodernism debates, and the special tensions between private and public spheres and between personal statement and the need for communication. This lively reader includes introductions, by the founders of PAJ, to each of the conversations, highlighting their original context and important themes. Organized into three sections -- "Art and Its Audience," "Writers and Composers," and "Bodies of Work" -- this volume includes more than fifty individual contributors in what amounts to a panoramic and polyvocal view of the American experimental arts scene. Contributors include John Cage, Gary Hill, Laurie Anderson, Edward Said, Susan Sontag, Umberto Eco, John Ashbery, Robert Jay Lifton, Philip Glass, Stanley Kauffmann, Edwin Denby, Mac Wellman, Maria Irene Fornes, Trisha Brown, Carolee Schneemann, Robert Wilson, Richard Foreman, Herbert Blau, John Guare, Judith Malina, Elizabeth LeCompte, Wallace Shawn. In touchstones that are surprisingly similar, what emerge from these conversations are the high standards and intellectual rigor these artists bring to their work, commitment to artistic ideals, and the demands placed on the artists as well as the public.

Creativity in Performance by R. Keith Sawyer

Call Number: PN1584 .C74 1997

ISBN: 1567503357

Publication Date: 1998-01-27

This analysis of creativity in performance ranges from jazz to dance and from theatre to scientific presentations.
Publication Date: 2010-04-30
Di Benedetto considers theatrical practice through the lens of contemporary neuroscientific discoveries in this provoking study, which lays the foundation for considering the physiological basis of the power of theatre practice to affect human behavior. He presents a basic summary of the ways that the senses function in relation to cognitive science and physiology, offering an overview of dominant trends of discussion on the realm of the senses in performance. Also presented are examples of how those ideas are illustrated in recent theatrical presentations, and how the different senses form the structure of a theatrical event. Di Benedetto concludes by suggesting the possible implications these neuroscientific ideas have upon our understanding of theatrical composition, audience response, and the generation of meaning.
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Publication Date: 1983-03-01


Performance Histories

Performance Histories by Bonnie Marranca

Call Number: PN1584 .M35 2008

ISBN: 1555540775

Publication Date: 2007-04-01

This collection of essays and interviews by the editor of PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art covers a wide range of current topics, such as avant-garde legacies, performance and ethics, art as spiritual practice, and the theater of food. The volume features individual commentaries on the plays of Wallace Shawn, The Wooster Group oeuvre, Robert Wilson and Gertrude Stein, and international theater, with extended reflections on performance in downtown New York City.

Re-Framing the Theatrical by Alison Oddey

Call Number: PN1584 .O33 2007

ISBN: 0230524656

Publication Date: 2007-05-15

Alison Oddey takes us on a spectator's journey engaging with art forms that cross boundaries of categorization. She questions the role of the spectator and director, including interviews with Deborah Warner; the nature of art works and performance with artists Heather Ackroyd, Dan Harvey and Graeme Miller. She provocatively demonstrates the spectator as centre of the artistic experience, a new kind of making theatre-art, revealing its spirit and nature; searching for space and contemplationin a hectic Twenty-First century landscape.


The Performing Arts by Michael Billington

Call Number: PN1584 .Q15 1980

ISBN: 087196421X

Publication Date: 1980-05-01


ISBN: 0759102244

Publication Date: 2004-05-05

Anya Peterson Royce turns the anthropological gaze on the performing arts, attempting to find broad commonalities in performance, art, and artists across space, time, and culture.

Publication Date: 2013-08-15

"The Audience Experience" identifies a momentous change in what it means to be part of an audience for a live arts performance. Together, new communication technologies and new kinds of audiences and audience research have transformed the expectations of performance, and "The Audience Experience" explores key trends in the contemporary presentation of performing arts for audiences, among them convergence marketing and cocreation, children and young people as audiences, and the screening of live performance. The book also presents case studies of audience engagement and methodology, reviewing both conventional and innovative ways of collecting and using audience feedback data. Directed to performing arts companies, sponsors, stakeholders, and scholars, this collection of essays moves beyond the conventional arts marketing paradigm to build new knowledge about how audiences encounter, value and experience quality in the performing arts.

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ISBN: 1572739428

Publication Date: 2009-09-01

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Distance in the Theatre by Daphna Ben Chaim

Call Number: PN1590.A9 B46 1984

ISBN: 9780835715317

Publication Date: 1984-01-01


Theatre Audiences by Susan Bennett

Call Number: PN1590.A9 B48 1997

ISBN: 0415157226

Publication Date: 1997-10-29

Explores the audience's role in traditional and avant-garde theatre, and the impact of the spectator upon the performance itself. Surveying past approaches to audience behaviour and contemporary theories of aesthetic response, the author advances suggestive proposals for a poetics of theatrical representation. This edition includes: a new chapter on intercultural theatre; a revised introduction which address the impact of cultural materialism, psychoanalysis and theories of performativity upon audience theory; and a revised bibliography.

Teaching Spectatorship by Monica Prendergast

Call Number: PN1590.A9 P74 2008

ISBN: 9781604975390

Publication Date: 2008-06-01

This study by Monica Prendergast offers a curriculum theory for audience in performance presented in a series of essays and poems on this key yet neglected educational topic. In a contemporary world that has been described as the "society of the spectacle" and the "performative society," it becomes a significant task for educators to find ways to assist students in becoming more active and critical spectators. This unique book is presented in seven chapters that survey how audience has been taken up (or ignored) across many disciplines, including aesthetic philosophy, performance theory, cultural studies, and arts education. Drawing on key findings discovered in this extensive literature review, the author goes on to present a number of chapters that theorize how spectatorship may become a central concern of curriculum through committed and teacher-facilitated attendance of live performance. These performance experiences-which may be community-based or professional-then serve as catalysts for creative postperformance interactions with artists and further classroom explorations. Throughout the text, the author makes use of an emergent arts-based methodology called poetic inquiry. The poems she creates offer readers other perspectives on the investigation and act as a reminder that cultural performance, like poetry, is an aesthetic event that calls us to attention, to wide-awakeness in the world. Teaching Spectatorship is a groundbreaking study that makes a critical contribution to the fields of performance studies, curriculum theory, and drama/theatre education.

ISBN: 9782080201720

Publication Date: 2013-12-17

This work examines Hollywood from every angle-offering an insider's view of the iconic films and people that comprise the epicenter of unrivaled cinematic glory-and includes first-hand interviews with the stars. From the pioneers of cinema to the New Hollywood of the 1960s, this volume tells the epic tale of the golden age of American film studios. Featuring previously unpublished or rare interviews with Hollywood greats from Mickey Rooney to Kirk Douglas and from Jane Fonda to Julie Andrews, and including an excerpt from the last interview ever granted by the late Richard Burton, this history offers an insider's perspective of the world's most beloved entertainment traditions. From silent films to the innovations of sound and then color, from the studio systems that shaped Hollywood (nababs, censure, and "starification"), to glamour in all its facets (from set design to the femme fatale), and featuring all of the emblematic genres, professions, and even the studio brands, this book celebrates the vast creative hive at the center of the world's cinematic hub. Rare archival photographs from the set and behind the scenes accompany reproductions of the great movie posters and headshots of screen stars to provide a visual chronology of the evolution of American cinema. From musicals to Westerns to live-action movies, all of the great films, producers, stars, and directors that propagate the fabulous myth of Hollywood make this the ultimate homage and a valuable reference.

ISBN: 379131808X

Publication Date: 1997-05-01

The hats, hairstyles, evening gowns, men's fashions, period costumes and films that started fashion trends, plus all the Oscar winners for costume design up to 1996 are included in this book for movie buff and fashion aficionado alike.

Publication Date: 1997-06-25

Long overshadowed by other art forms Germany produced a wide range of photographers who covered journalism, fashion and advertising as well as propaganda and art for art's sake. This book examines their work and the use and abuse of it.

Artist Books from Special Collections


Music and Dance By Evelyn Eller

Call Number: N7433.4.E55 M87 1994


Musical Memories by Evelyn Eller

Call Number: N7433.4.E55 M872 2000


Words and Music by Evelyn Eller

Call Number: N7433.4.E55 W67 2003


Variations on the Dialectic between Mingus and Pithecanthropus Erectus conceived by Lynn Sures & Rick Potts

Call Number: N7433.4.S87 V37 2005

Rick Potts wrote the text ; Lynn Sures designed the book and carved the woodblocks.


Sounds of Silence by Rae Trujillo

Call Number: N7433.4.T78 S68 2008


Rhythm Grid by Thomas Parker Williams

Call Number: N7433.4.W55 R49 2013


The Dream of the Dirty Woman : A Play in One Act Based on a Dream of Elka Schumann By Elka Schumann

Call Number: PS3552.R357 D7 1980


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Picturing Performance





La Menuet De La Cour attributed to Le Couteur
Pencil Drawing Original size: 16 x 20.5 inches
Special Collections + Archives
Performing Arts Graphic Material C0215

The minuet was an elegant couples’ dance, performed under watchful eyes, one pair at a time, in aristocratic ballrooms from approximately the mid-17th century and throughout the 18th century. The dance developed in France but was rapidly emulated throughout Europe and even in American colonies. In 3⁄4 time, the minuet consisted of small, graceful steps taken at ceremoniously slow tempos – the dancers thus embodied etiquette and courtesy.

This image seems to catch the couple at the start of their minuet, with the woman mid-curtsy. Two nobles sit on a throne to the right, an audience surrounds the dance floor. and musicians are seen to the lower left. One woman in the crowd even seems to be showing the counts to the minuet via hand signals, possibly leading the young lady dancer in her steps.

The setting of this image is an unidentified 18th century French court – some of the fashion clues suggest a distinctly French style – large, bouffant skirts, long overcoats, and high collars.


Dancers and Musicians in a Country Setting by Jean Jacques de Boissieu
1736 – 1810
Original size: 11 x 14 inches
Special Collections + Archives
Performing Arts Graphic Material C0215

Jean Jacques de Boissieu (1736-1810) was a French etcher and engraver, popular for his etchings and prints of landscape and countryside settings.

This print portrays several groups of people of varying social status, engaging in leisure activities on the grounds of a country church, perhaps during the celebration of a feast day. Two string players and a woodwind player, surrounded by a small audience, perform under a canopy in the upper left hand corner. Down the hill, a couple dances to a bagpiper before onlookers, while to the right, a man kicks up his heels to the music of a performer playing some type of woodwind instrument (likely a recorder). The artist’s very casual lines do not provide the detail by which the instruments can be clearly identified; this was not his purpose.

Boissieu spent most of his life in Lyon, where he studied at the École Gratuite de Dessin. This specific etching (signed “JJ B 1773” in lower left hand corner) is likely of the countryside of Lyon, although Boissieu is also known for rendering images of the Roman and Dutch countryside during his travels.


Circus Polka by Costas 
Color Photograph
Original size: 12 x 14 inches
Special Collections + Archives
Performing Arts Graphic Material C0215

In 1942, Igor Stravinsky composed Circus Polka for a Young Elephant  in response to a request from choreographer George Balanchine, who had been asked by Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus to create a dance for elephants and ballerinas. Under the big top at Madison Square Garden, the unusual work was duly premiered by fifty pairs of  human and animal performers, all wearing pink tutus, to great audience hilarity.

Thirty years later, legendary choreographer-director-producer Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) refashioned the four-minute musical piece as a less ponderous and more adorable vehicle for himself, in the role of a circus ringmaster, and 48 youngsters from the School of American Ballet. This new version of Circus Polka was premiered during New York City Ballet’s Stravinsky Festival in June, 1972 and has been revived regularly. Subsequent dance luminaries such as Mikhail Baryshnikov have danced the ringmaster’ part, herding newer generations of young ballerinas through their paces at the theatrical crack of a whip.

The color photograph was taken by Costas (1972) and is signed by Robbins.


Hitler Youth 
Original print size: 8 x 10 inches
Special Collections + Archives
Performing Arts Graphic Material C0215

The happy innocence of girls filing down a hillside while intently playing recorders resonates ironically against their ominous identification as Nazi-era Hitler youth. Based on the apparent ages, these might be new members of the Jungmädelbund (JM), or “Young Girls League” for ages 10-14, who have not yet passed the fitness-and-bravery challenge that entitled them to wear white blouses with a special black neckerchief and leather knot.

In 1933, all other German youth groups, such as Scouts and Wandervogel (hiking clubs) were banned. Membership in JM (and other Hitler youth clubs) was voluntary at first, but by 1936 was required for all ethnically German children except “undesirables.” Groups of JM girls met twice each week for recreation, instruction in home economics, and political indoctrination: midweek gatherings were at local Party headquarters, while weekends featured camping and sports.

The musical education of German children was heavily influenced by the groundwork of composer and pedagogue Carl Orff and his collaborator Gunild Keetman, who introduced the learning and playing of recorders in the 1920s.


Douze Nouveaux Quentetti pour Deux Violons, Deux Violon- celles et Alto by Charles-Nicolas Richomme
1750?- 1820?
Original size: 13.5 x 10.5 inches
Special Collections + Archives M551 .B66 Q7 1798

Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) was one of the most celebrated Italian composers of the Classical era, especially noted for his ensemble works for strings.

For the cover of the first edition of Boccherini’s Twelve Quintets, op. 37 (Douze Nouveaux Quintetti), the engraver Richomme (probably Charles-Nicolas Richomme, 1750s-1820s) depicts a heavenly muse or angel delivering “new manuscripts by Boccherini” to an earthbound female musician, seated languorously in an arbor, with musical scores by Boccherini and instruments strewn casually about. Both figures are dressed in classical Greek garb, and a small temple-like structure is seen on a distant hilltop, perhaps symbolizing Mount Parnassus, home of the Muses.

Illustrated sheet music covers featuring detailed artwork could increase a work’s marketability and, in this case, signify the esteem and “mythic” status accorded to the composer and perhaps by extension, flatter the cultivated taste and classical erudition of the purchaser.


Body and Soul by Maximilian A. Rasko
Original size: 9 x 12 inches
Special Collections + Archives
M1621.G74 B64 1930

“Body and Soul” (music by John W. Green and lyrics by E. Heyman, R. Sour, and F. Eyton) was composed in 1930 for British stage actress Gertrude Lawrence, and first performed in the United States soon afterward by torch singer Libby Holman. The song is now the single most-recorded instrumental jazz standard of all time, beginning with Louis Armstrong (and at least ten other groups) in its first year.

For the first edition sheet music cover, Hungarian–born American illustrator and portrait artist Maximilian Rasko (1883-1961) created an arresting image of Medusa, the once-beautiful, then-hideous female monster of mythology whose gaze turned men to stone. The inspiration for this choice is up for speculation. A reasonable connection could be made to the desperate sentiments of the song’s forlorn narrator, who throws herself “body and soul” (scandalously so,  for the 1930s) at the man of her desires – only to meet with cold, stony rejection.

Germania Musical SocietyCROP400416

The Germania Musical Society by Sarony & Major
ca. 1850
Portrait Lithograph
Original size: 18 x 27 inches
Special Collections + Archives
Performing Arts Graphic Material C0215

The Germania Musical Society was a classical chamber orchestra of professional German musicians which gave successful concert tours throughout the major cities of the northeastern United States from 1848 to 1852. The group settled in Boston, where they survived as a musicians’ cooperative and performed regularly until disbanding in 1854.

Giving many American audiences their first hearing of a well-disciplined ensemble whose playing surpassed that of American theater orchestras of the day, the Germania Musical Society’s repertoire ranged from dance arrangements and potpourris to opera overtures and movements from symphonies.

Napoleon Sarony and James Major were illustrators, photographers, and lithographers who formed a prosperous lithography studio in New York City in the early 1840s. Producing souvenir images and cabinet cards of theatrical performers, musicians, and celebrities in general was their stock-in-trade. They carefully identified every musician in a legend below the group portrait.


Osculetor Me Osculo Oris Sui by Claes Janszoon Visscher
Original size: 8.25 x 10.25 inches
Special Collections + Archives
NE671 .J6 V58 1610

This artwork by Dutch engraver and mapmaker Claes Janszoon Visscher (1587-1652; also known as Piscator) depicts Biblical King Solomon enthroned before a retinue of priests and singers who perform a motet (a short, unaccompanied, sacred work for multiple voices). It reproduces an earlier drawing or painting, no longer extant, by Visscher’s compatriot Maarten de Vos (1532-1603). It is an example of a Bildmotett, or “picture-motet” wherein the illustration of a religious subject includes accurate, performable music notation. This late-Renaissance print genre by visual artists was a precursor to the emergence of printed musical scores engraved by music specialists.

The motet is by Flemish composer Andreas Pevernage (1543-1591) and is a setting for five voices, in white mensural notation, of a short text in Latin from the Canticle of Canticles (Song of Solomon): “Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth: for thy breasts are better than wine…” Only four parts are notated; the superius or treble at upper left is meant for two voices in canon. The Latin text at the bottom of the print describes the glories of King Solomon.


Il Pomo D’Oro by Mattias Küsel
Original size: 10 x17 inches
Special Collections + Archives
Performing Arts Graphic Material C0215

Il Pomo d’Oro (The Golden Apple) by Antonio Cesti (1623-1669) was the epitome of lengthy Baroque op- eratic spectacle. Based on the myth of the Judgment of Paris (wherein the mortal Paris judges a beauty contest between competing goddesses, and, by re- fusing one of their bribes, initiates the Trojan War), the opera runs eight hours over two nights and in- volves 100 roles plus choruses and extras. It was com- missioned for the 1666 wedding in Vienna of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and Princess Margherita Teresa of Spain, but not premiered until 1668. Befit- ting royalty, no expense was spared in the produc- tion.

Theater architect and stage designer Lodovico Bur- nacini (1636-1707) built Vienna’s first opera house for this occasion and provided the set designs for the opera’s two dozen elaborate scenes. No such occa- sion would be complete without expensive souvenir pictures to remember it by; master engraver Mattias Küsel (1629-1681) shrewdly created over 40 different luxury-edition prints from Burnacini’s designs. Here, dancers in a seaside street flanked by two-story apartment facades perform beneath a painted sky full of celestial beings.


La Princesse D’Elide by Israel Silvestre
Original size: 11.5 x 17 inches
Special Collections + Archives
Performing Arts Graphic Material C0215

“Sun King” Louis XIV commissioned playwright Moliere (Jean-Baptise Poquelin, 1622-1673) and composer Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) to collaborate on a production. Their joint venture resulted in La Princesse d’Elide, a comédie galante mêlée de musique et d’entrées de ballet (courtly comedy inter- spersed with music and dance numbers).

The spectacle humorously represents the struggles and surprises of affection between men and women, with the princess of the title being ultimately transformed from cold and indifferent to warm and accepting. It was presented in an elegant, specially-constructed, but temporary, wooden building in May, 1664. No permanent theater was built at Versailles until 1681.

Draftsman and printmaker Israel Silvestre (1621-1691) produced this engraving in 1773 as part of a series documenting the Versailles palace complex. In the foreground of the image, the king and his retinue sit front and center: best seats in the house during sev- eral days of theatrical festivities honoring Queen Anne of Austria and Louis XIV’s wife, Maria Theresa.


Potiphar’s Wife by Léon Bakst
Original size: 13 x 10.25 inches
Special Collections + Archives
GV1787.B7 1922

Léon Bakst was a Russian painter and designer associated with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris, and the major figure in the application of art nouveau design concepts to the stage. In particular, this drawing shows Bakst’s concept for the costume of Potiphar’s wife in the production of Le Legend de Joseph (the biblical story of Joseph). It depicts the woman who attempted to seduce the modest and virtuous Joseph, and then had him thrown in jail when he resisted. This 1914 ballet, with music by Richard Strauss (op. 63) and choreography by Michel Fokine, is set in Egypt circa 1600 BC. It is unlikely that the original seducer was so flamboyantly attired!

The source for this image, Collection des Plus Beaux Numéros de Comœdia Illustré et des Programmes Consacrés aux Ballets & Galas Russes…1909 –1921 is a 380-page limited edition, compiled by the Ballets Russes’ program publishers, Maurice and Jacques de Brunoff. This work vividly documents this famous ballet company (which also premiered Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird, Petrushka, and Rite of Spring).


Electricity by Unknown Artist
Photograph Original size: 9 x 7.25 inches
Special Collections + Archives
Performing Arts Graphic Material

“Electricity” is an unusual example of Art Deco costume design. This publicity still shows Theodore Kosloff (1882-1956) dressed for a production number in the MGM musical film Madam Satan (1930), an improbable story set in a dirigible floating above New York City. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, the film’s plot involves a masquerade ball at which a woman, suspicious of her husband’s fidelity, poses as a temptress to test his resolve (and her own allure). The gaiety ends when a thunderstorm destroys the dirigible, but all parachute safely into Central Park.

The film’s costumes were designed by Gilbert Adrian (1903-1959), who was then head of DeMille’s ward- robe department. The movie was a total flop, but Adrian went on to develop a successful couture business while continuing to design for stage and film including the classic The Wizard of Oz (1939). In 1961, Adrian received a posthumous Tony Award for his costumes for the Broadway musical Camelot.

“Electricity” was actor-dancer Kosloff’s last onscreen role. He opened a ballet school in Los Angeles and continued to choreograph for films, the last of which was DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956).



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