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The Fair Grounds: A Thanksgiving Tradition

The New Orleans Fair Grounds began operation in their current location in 1852 as the Union Race Course, making it the oldest site of racing in America still in operation. The racing season is traditionally kicked off at the Fair Grounds on Thanksgiving Day, so ladies, it’s time to get your fancy hats ready.

Special Collections & Archives is home to a few pieces of horse-racing memorabilia.  The Elizabeth Adolph Collection of Early 20th Century New Orleans Sports Memorabilia contains two printed silk programs from the Crescent City Jockey Club dated 1904 and 1906. The Crescent City Jockey Club was established in 1892 at what is now the New Orleans Fair Grounds.  For 16 years, the club ran a winter racing season from mid-December until early April. However, in 1908 Louisiana passed a state law which halted horse racing in New Orleans for a time.  While the club held on to their lease at the fair grounds for several years hoping that racing would be allowed to return, they eventually had to liquidate their assets in the spring of 1913.

While the Fair Grounds are now famously home to Jazz Fest, in 1899 they were also home to the Louisiana Industrial Exposition and Peace Jubilee, “The 1st Annual Exposition…held under the auspices of the New Orleans Progressive Union, in the City of New Orleans, May 8th to 31st inclusive, 1899 .” The fair was repeated in 1900, but seems to have ceased after that date.

To view these items in their entirety, contact Loyola University Special Collections & Archives at archives@loyno.edu or come see us on the third floor of the Monroe Library.

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

LOYNOOA: Loyola University and Opera in New Orleans

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Special Collections & Archives presents our poster exhibit, LOYNOOA: Loyola University and Opera in New Orleans, located on the first floor of Monroe Library facing the library’s music collection. Using photos and information from the Loyola University Archives, student worker and vocal performance major Gloria Cosenza researched the relationship between the New Orleans Opera Association and Loyola’s opera education programs in conjunction with our 3rd floor exhibit featuring highlights from the New Orleans Opera Association archive. She assembled a timeline of instructors, alumni and notable events, which was translated into posters by SCA project assistant Sara White. Gloria is photographed here hanging some of the posters before vinyl decals were added to illustrate the three eras depicted in the timeline. If you are unable to see the exhibit in person, you may now view many of the posters individually on SCA’s Tumblr.

Opera Student Pass Winner!

Congratulations to Alobi, pictured here with Special Collections and Archives Coordinator Trish Nugent, for winning our New Orleans Opera Association Student Pass contest. The contest involved a seek and find questionnaire & giveaway to support the “Encore! Encore! Bravi! Exhibit Introducing the New Orleans Opera Association Archives” exhibit in Special Collections & Archives. Alobi now has a student pass to the New Orleans Opera Association’s 2016-2017 season.

Congratulations, and thanks to all who participated!

#PageFrights

Today’s #PageFrights comes from the New Orleans Opera Association Archives. Pictured below is a program cover for a 1975 production of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots.

Les Huguenots program cover

For more like this, come to the Booth-Bricker Reading Room in Special Collections & Archives and view our exhibit, Encore! Encore! Bravi! Presenting the New Orleans Opera Association Archives.

#PageFrights is a month-long social media celebration of Halloween, library & archives-style.

Win a NOOA Student Pass!

Win a college student pass for the New Orleans Opera’s 2016/2017 Season

A Seek and Find Questionnaire & Giveaway to support

the Encore! Encore! Bravi! Exhibit Introducing the New Orleans Opera Association Archives

Print this post out to enter or get an answer sheet in Special Collections & Archives.

  1. Answer all 6 questions correctly.
  2. Fold & Place your answer sheet in the designated box in Special Collections & Archives.
  3. Wait until October 5. We will call/email you if you’re a winner!

Though you’re already a winner, anyway…

The Special Collections and Archives Department is located on the third floor of the Monroe Library. Start your search inside the Introduction Case near the third floor elevator. Continue to the Display Window. From there, make your way inside the Booth-Bricker Reading Room and enjoy scanning each of the remaining three cases for more answers.

There is one question for each case, one question from the display window timeline, and one question from the exhibit title poster. Don’t hesitate to ask our staff for assistance! Good luck! And happy hunting!

Questions:

  1. How long is the exhibit “on view”?
  2. There are 7 programs on display in the introduction case. List the titles of three operas from those programs.
  3. On the timeline poster in the Window Display above the introductory case – what notorious soprano had a brief nude scene in the 1973 production of Thais?
  4. From the stage design case – give the name and year of at least one of the set design sketches or photographs in the case.
  5. From the Faust cue sheet found in the supporting roles case – in Scene 2 (The Kermesse) what is the FIRST light cue?
  6. In the photos of “Performance for Students” May 1979 – one of the students may have fallen asleep… True or false?

Stay tuned for LOYNOOA

Stay tuned for an upcoming first-floor exhibit by the Special Collections & Archives team: “LOYNOOA: Loyola University and Opera in New Orleans.” In conjunction with “Encore! Encore! Bravi! Introducing the New Orleans Opera Association Archives” exhibit on view now in the Booth-Bricker Reading Room on the 3rd floor of Monroe Library, we will soon be hanging numerous posters outlining the history of opera at Loyola. Thanks to extensive research conducted by student intern Gloria Cosenza, the exhibit will showcase notable alumni, instructors and events since the inception of the College of Music at Loyola University New Orleans. The show will be hung in the next week on the first floor of the library, across from the library’s music collections.

Special Collections Internship report

This internship report was written by music major Gloria Cosenza, Special Collections & Archives intern

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Gloria Cosenza with photos of Norman Treigle (directly behind Gloria) and her grandfather Arthur Cosenza (right) at Pascal's Manale, 2015. Image courtesy of Gloria Cosenza.

Music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desired.

Boethius (AD 480 – AD 524) is a philosopher best known for his treatise, Consolation of Philosophyand the most notable of his ideas is The Wheel of Fortune. However, he is most important to me because of the philosophy within his manuscript De institutione musica. Boethius identified what he considered “the threefold classification of music”. Musica mundana is the music of the spheres (planets and universes), which is soundless to the naked ear but can be felt more or less like goose bumps or butterflies in your stomach. Musica humana is the harmony sounded in between the physical and spiritual human body – the vibration and sound of OM in yoga is an example of this harmony. Musica instrumentalis is understood on the most basic level as instrumental music produced by something under tension (i.e. strings, wind, water, or percussion). The quote above is taken from this ancient manuscript.

I recognize music as a driving force in my life – as one I have run from and now a force with which I attempt to coexist. Music is the reason I decided to finish my undergraduate degree at Loyola, and my Cosenza family legacy with the university begins (and will soon end) with the art of opera. Arthur Cosenza, my operatic baritone of a grandfather, spearheaded the Loyola Opera Workshop in 1964. His instructor status at the university allowed for his sons (my dad and uncle) to earn – free of charge – not only their undergraduate degrees in English and Accounting, but also their law degrees. It was in the law classrooms of the Broadway campus where my parents met and fell in love. One of the reasons they fell in love was because of their shared passion for the arts.

[My mother recalls reading in Time magazine of Arthur’s work (before she ever met my father) with the New Orleans Opera Association during their 1972 opera season. The infamous season when soprano Carol Neblett, performing the role of Thais, revealed her nude self to an unsuspecting crowd in the Act I finale of the opera!]

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Arthur Cosenza (standing, right) rehearsing with Loyola Opera Workshop singers Carl Kauffman (left) and Judith Fischer (middle), and accompanist Eugenie Passera. Image from the Loyola University Archives.

I am the third of four children my parents have together. My oldest sister graduated summa cum laude with degrees from Loyola in Mass Communications and political science. Since I am not married, and my youngest sister is graduating from LSU, I will be the last Cosenza with a degree, as a “Cosenza”, from Loyola.

The operatic sound is one of the many frequencies, which makes up my own musical chemistry. We listened to operatic recordings on vinyl; my grandfather would occasionally sing; and eventually, I saw my very first live performance when I was about nine years old. I experienced the opera at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts with my grandfather while he was still the Artistic Director of the New Orleans Opera Association. The production was The Ballad of Baby Doe, and I ate too many chocolate covered raisins. Truthfully, my first heartfelt operatic experience was many years after my first opera, but several months after my grandfather passed away. Up late studying for a high school geography exam and strung out on caffeine, I was playing music I found on an old computer. Puccini’s “O Mio Babino Caro” sung by Maria Callas started to play, and I cried. I played it a few more times in order to witness myself emoting through a classical piece of music. I was sure the aria’s text was of overcoming hopelessness and sadness, but alas it is not. Though sometimes I still cry when I hear that recording, in spite of the text – just because it makes me think of Arthur.

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Arthur Cosenza. Image from the New Orleans Opera Association Archives.

“If they don’t let me in, I won’t go anywhere else.” That’s what I told my parents when I decided to audition for Loyola’s School of Music. I was a twenty-three year old yoga teacher/nanny/full time employee at Whole Foods Market in Baton Rouge, “with a dream”. The Loyola voice faculty made a strange decision, and they accepted me into their program. I have been studying classical voice and the art of operatic performance for over three years now. This summer I was given the opportunity to study the business of opera, and specifically the business my grandfather ran for almost 20 years at the New Orleans Opera Association. During my internship, I worked as an associate of the Special Collections and Archives department on the third floor of Monroe Library. My project for the summer was to layout a timeline based on the history of the New Orleans Opera Association (NOOA) in correlation to the one hundred boxes which make up the NOOA collection. On the first day, I was briefed on basic rules and practices of keeping and working in archives. I learned the layout of each collection and what kinds of information these collections had to offer in way of research aids.

Learning the basics of managing and maneuvering an archive seems to me a legitimate library science skill that I could use to persuade employers looking to hire someone for a basic library position or any position that would require book keeping or basic organization/ attention to detail qualities. I eventually created a digital timeline using software called TimelineJS.

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Click image above to go to timeline

Granted the software was very easy to use, it will be a great tool for future presentations and possibly an element to a kind of portfolio I might put together to impress employers. The last, important skill I learned while working as an intern this summer was how to work with new personalities. I pride myself in having known and worked with many different kinds of people, and this summer I met a couple of new attitudes I was otherwise not familiar. I regretfully admit that I am a people pleaser, first and foremost; but I feel like I made headway into reasons why being a stand up, reliable worker is the most important and usually the easiest way to gain anyone’s affection or approval. I don’t need to be “nice” or “cute” in order to be an asset to the team. What a team wants more than anything – for the sake of the individuals and the project at hand – is a clever, focused, confident worker. All of my colleagues have offered themselves as references for future job opportunities I may have. These women are eager to see me succeed in whatever I do, and they are some of the smartest, empowered, good-humored women I have met. I believe we will stay friends for quite some time.

The first day of my internship was May 23, and though I stopped working twenty hours a week on August 1. I am still working with the team, though they could only take me on at ten hours a week instead of twenty to meet their budget. On August 23, I will have been with SC&A for three months. I am not sure I can articulate all of the amazing new ideas I’ve had in such a short time. These new ideas range from how the past can shed light on a successful future for the opera as a thriving art form in New Orleans, to the necessary facets of my own projects as an up and coming artist in the world – and how I can make a thriving career for myself as a performing artist. I kept a notebook while working in the archives. This notebook is full of lists of things to do for the exhibits and places where I can find what I need, etc. However, in and throughout my notes, I have scribbles of marketing ideas for myself – equipment I need to purchase, ideas for a kind of press package, thoughts on head shots, possible day jobs for when I graduate, lists of repertoire I need to learn, quotes and special places of beautiful photos of my grandpop. One of the most amazing parts of this New Orleans Opera Association project was reading about how all of these famous musicians made it to the top. I picked up on a few key points that have kept me thinking forward into my own future. The first is passion for the music and for the art of performance – a passionate dedication to beauty, precision, and honesty when making opera. Second, there is a teacher who believes in the student or artist. It seems strange that dependence does in fact exist especially in a world where individualism is strong and we believe that the individual can do whatever he or she puts their minds to… But the truth is, with an art such as voice, a quality teacher is a necessary for the progress of the vocalist – a teacher who believes in the student’s possible career and a teacher who can articulate breathing technique, freedom of muscles, sound and creative expression. The third quality is diligence. I think diligence encompasses perseverance at a steady pace, thorough and quality preparation, and a promise to live up to his or her vocal talent. By this I mean, never taking for granted the natural vocal gift that exists, taking good care of it and looking forward to expressing it.

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Gloria working in the archives, summer 2016. Image courtesy of Gloria Cosenza.

One of my music business advisers strongly recommended I register for the internship course within the music industry curriculum. He has always told me that if I am going to try for an operatic performance career that I will need some kind of a back up plan in order to supplement my income. This summer I learned that though my grandfather had a unique vocal talent and stage presence, he was also an incredible businessman. Because he was a performer, he was able to communicate with many different kinds of people and those people wanted to be around him. All summer I read of how he had never imagined he would spend fifty years of his life stage directing and managing a professional opera house. He loved opera and everything else happened from that passion. Where my own career is concerned, I believe I have a significant chance of making a living as a singing actor. If this is not the case, I will remain content as long as I am surrounded by music and according to Boethius I always will be.

Encore! Encore! Bravi! Presenting the New Orleans Opera Association Archives

Special Collections & Archives is very pleased to present its newest exhibit, “Encore! Encore! Bravi! Presenting the New Orleans Opera Association Archives.”

Encore! Encore! Bravi! Poster

This exhibit serves as an introduction to our newly processed New Orleans Opera Association Archives. This collection documents the business and creative operations of New Orleans Opera Association (NOOA) from its inception in 1943 to their most recent performance programs.

In conjunction with the exhibit, we also present a digital timeline of NOOA’s history created by music major and Special Collections & Archives intern Gloria Cosenza:

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The archive and the exhibit provide a behind-the-scenes look into the art and business of NOOA and are comprised of costume lists, rehearsal schedules, promotional programs and posters, fundraising records, personnel files, and production archives. In addition to these accessible materials, the collection also contains audio-visual recordings that we are pursuing funding for both digitization and public access.

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The exhibit is on view in the Booth-Bricker Reading Room in Special Collections & Archives, 3rd floor of the Monroe Library, from now until May 2017.

SCA’s Newest Detective

In 1962, Domingo performed with the New Orleans Opera House Association for the first time as Lord Arturo Bucklaw. This was only his second performance in America (after his U.S. debut at the Dallas Civic Opera)! In this same program, is one of the shortest "artist bios" ever to be written under his now internationally famous name. Come and see it for yourself when you visit us in the SCA (third floor of Monroe Library)!

One of my more exciting projects this summer is working in the Loyola Special Collections & Archives department at Monroe Library. I first learned how to navigate a library via the Dewey Decimal System during my kindergarten year at Hynes Elementary School in Lakeview. There is nothing quite like the thrill of researching, seeking, and finding sources in the library. Those moments when you get lost in shelves because there are more books than you thought there would be on your topic or even a topic you had not considered; the sounds of silence; the scents of the books…I could go on forever about the joys of ‘the library’! Monroe Library at Loyola is an unforgettable one. There has always been a special little place in my heart, where I’ve imagined myself a librarian. Here I am. Tucked away on the third floor, in a quiet and magical place is: The Special Collections and Archives Department. I was hired to take on this part time position as a student worker and am receiving a music industry internship credit. The people I work with are as lovely as they are intelligent (and librarians are very smart, duh!). We all wear sweaters not because sweaters complete the “adorable librarian” look, but because most of the collections in our in our department are extremely old and in order to best preserve them, temperatures are set very low.

Floyd is famous for his operatic composition of Susannah (an opera in two acts). The composer wrote Susannah and Markheim essentially for the specific voice and character of international and local star Norman Treigle. The world premiere of Markheim took place in March 1966 after Treigle insisted it happen in his hometown of New Orleans! The performance captured national coverage and was a huge success.

My journey in the archives began and will end with the New Orleans Opera Association. My primary job this summer is to search through the extensive New Orleans Opera Association archives and find interesting photos, documents, programs, etc. to display in the New Orleans Opera Association exhibit coming this Fall 2016! What seemed a daunting and vague task (as SA&C has almost 100 boxes of NOOA historical content) has turned into one of the most interesting and exciting research projects I’ve ever encountered! The timeline I am working with is from February 1943 – the beginning of the New Orleans Opera House Association – to the early 2000′s. This collection is over flowing with unique photographs, hand painted or sketched set designs, amusing correspondence, quaint scrapbooks, and reel to reel recordings of performances as old at 1947!

This watercolor set design of a 1966 production of Carmen is one of many hand painted or sketched plans in the NOOA collection. It is most fascinating to hold up the planned set next to the realized black and white photo of the stage!

A single page from one of the NOOA Women's Opera Guild Scrapbooks. The twenty-fifth anniversary season of the NOOHA was all about the big names in opera. For this particularly spectacular performance, Tito Capobianco staged an inventive production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann, featuring Beverly Sills (pictured here), John Alexander, and Norman Treigle.

Arthur G. Cosenza

This is my Grandfather. He is one of my most favorite people and he was active with the New Orleans Opera Association for over thirty-five years. From the 1953-54 season as a supporting baritone role; through the 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s as stage and/or artistic director; and from 1998 until his death in 2005 he served as the Emeritus Director of the association. What a handsome guy! Though he always told me, “Everyone looks better when they’re younger.”

This project has only just begun. I am looking forward to another month in the Monroe Library researching, seeking, and finding…

Written by Student Worker and Intern, Gloria S. Cosenza.

Lorraine “Lorena” Dureau

Lorraine Dureau Newsham graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in 1955 with a Bachelor of Music. She had become somewhat of a local celebrity, praised for her ability to be both a wife and student, but more importantly for her voice.  She was an up and coming opera singer, having performed with Norman Treigle during the 1940s and an active member of NORD (New Orleans Recreation Department), and was accepted to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House after finishing her time at Loyola but was unable to attend after suffering from a broken rib that put her out of work for the opera season.
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Devastated by her missed opportunity she sought out other options and was encouraged by Miguel Bernal, the dean of the College of Music at the time, to try her hand in Mexico where the opera scene was growing in popularity and was performing year round.  It is not clear by our records the exact time she left, but by 1957 Lorraine was in Mexico, apparently leaving everything behind, including her husband at the time, John Newsham. Her collection is full of photos and articles from her time in Mexico, giving us a picture of what her life was like and all of the people she met and grew close to.
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In Mexico she became a star and her music career soared while earning herself a new name in the process, Lorena Dureau. She preferred performing repertoire of her favorite songs rather than complete operas but excelled in both, appearing on stage, radio, and television, all while also furthering her career as a writer.

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She wrote articles for many publications around the world both during her time in Mexico and after returning to New Orleans in 1978. She had been writing short stories and poems since she was a little girl and took up the skill again as she led her singing career away from performing and in the direction of teaching and turned to novels.  While her first unpublished manuscript was titled By the Sword (date unknown) and written under the pen name Lorry Newman, her first published work was a book titled The Last Casquette Girl (1981), starting her on the trend of romance novels that would follow which included Lynette (1983), Iron Lace (1983), and Beloved Outcast (1987).


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After returning to New Orleans she captured the attention of a local businessman by the name of George Lehleitner, famous for his work both in the New Orleans community and his actions in helping both Alaska and Hawaii achieve statehood. George had seen an article about Lorraine that was written by an old family friend and contacted the friend to say that he was interested in meeting this fascinating woman. Persistent in his desire to meet Lorraine she eventually accepted his offer for lunch, starting the beginning of a wonderful relationship as the two were soon married and lived our their lives with each other, traveling to many places together as Lorraine also re-visited Mexico many times.

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Interesting cannot even begin to describe this woman as her collection takes you on a wild tale of one woman’s journey through life. From her days at NORD and Loyola to Mexico and opera, writing of romance novels and articles on voodoo, dolls, Mexican culture, and more.

This information is from the Lorraine Dureau collection, which is currently being processed at Loyola University New Orleans in the Special Collections & Archives by students.

Blog Post by Caitlin Page, a Special Collections Student Worker.