Posts Tagged ‘Archives’

New Orleans Opera Association Archives

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“The date of the very first staging of opera in the New Orleans cannot be firmly established and seems forever lost to music historians, but it can safely be stated that since 1796, in the final decade of the Spanish colonial era, New Orleans has had operatic performances on almost a yearly basis. With few exceptions throughout the nineteenth century, each year the city hosted a resident company which was engaged for its principal theatre and which could be depended upon for performances throughout an established operatic season…

Welcome though these sporadic appearances were, what the city needed was a return to a permanent company, with a fixed operatic season. Determined to meet this challenge, in February 1943 a group of music lovers, led by Walter L. Loubat (1885-1945), drew up a charter creating the New Orleans Opera House Association. An inaugural summer season of open air performances, billed as “Opera under the Stars”, in City Park stadium was planned. The inaugural bill of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci (June 11/12, 1943) was followed by three other works.  Amelio Colantoni served as artistic director; former Metropolitan Opera conductor Louis Hasselmans was recruited from nearby Louisiana State University’s faculty; and Lelia Haller, a New Orleanian who had danced with the Paris Opéra ballet, began the training of a resident corps de ballet.   The initial season scored a success, but the ever present threat of evening showers in semi tropical New Orleans prompted a move indoors to the Municipal Auditorium that autumn.  The concert hall of the Auditorium remained home for the Opera Association until the inauguration of the Theatre of Performing Arts in 1973.”

Jack Belsom, “A History of Opera in New Orleans.”

Here at Monroe Library’s Special Collections and Archives, we house a huge collection of programs, donated by the New Orleans Opera Association, dating back to that first performance “under the stars” in 1943. I have been lucky enough to have been allotted the task of digitizing this collection. Flipping through the beautifully vintage pages of these programs, one can recognize Loyola Alums credited as both chorus members and singing roles. Sarah Jane McMahon (’02), Norman Treigle (51’) and Bryan Hymel (’01) are just a few of the many recognizable names you can find. You can even find the names of superstars like Walter Cassel, Robert Weede, Eugene Conley, Lawrence Tibbett, Gabor Carelli and many more. Each program includes bios about the composers, conductors and singers involved in each performance, as well as a synopsis of the opera(s) being performed, and provides a neat insight to the life of those musicians. They also include some very hip ads from the time: a piano company that was based in New Orleans, local restaurants and eateries, clothing and jewelry stores, home radios, cars, theatres, etc…

Once the collection is digitized it will be made available and accessible through the SCA webpage. In the meantime, if you desire to hold one of these pieces of operatic history in your own hands, the same pieces of paper that were held by the hands of who-knows-who (perhaps a few of today’s New Orleans-hailing opera stars from their student days), then come by the Booth-Bricker Special Collections and Archives Reading Room on the third floor of Monroe Library to consult with one of our archivists. We will be happy to help!

This post was compiled by student worker Dylan J. Tran.

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

Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books

Special Collections & Archives proudly presents Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books!

Curated to highlight several exciting new additions to our book collection, Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books features the work of five contemporary artisans who uniquely reimagine text, illustration, and “book” form to create engaging works of art.

The exhibition is on view in the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room through July 31, 2015.

As always, all are welcome to join us in Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 and Friday, 9:00-12:00.

Special Collections & Archives Projects Assistant, Rachel, installing the exhibition.

Fine Press & Artists’ Books

So, what exactly are Fine Press & Artists’ books?

Artists’ books harmoniously combine content (both the written word and visual imagery), design, and form to share a message. Artists’ books can employ a wide range of forms, including, but not limited to, scrolls, foldouts, accordion style pleating, or loose items contained in a box.

Simply stated, Artists’ books are not books about art—they are art expressed in book form.

A Spring Garden

Similarly, Fine Press books, often valuable and intrinsically beautiful, harken back to centuries preceding the advent of mass production. They are composed of artist-selected content and are created on a small scale, with a limited number of copies.

A Sound Beyond – Un suono al di là

Both Fine Press & Artists’ books are generally printed on high-quality paper using equipment controllable by a single individual, usually a hand operated press.

Interested in learning more? Visit the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room over the next seven weeks to view this summer’s Special Collections & Archives exhibition, Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press  & Artists’ Books!

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

Frankenstein Photos Found!

Today we take a look at a few interesting photographs we found while processing some of our University Archives images. These are from a drama department rehearsal for a production of Frankenstein in 1994.

The performance looks to have been a dynamic interpretation of the classic and fabled story written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly in 1818.

I did some preliminary research and was unable to find if a particular play was used for the basis of this performance.

The physicality in these photos does indicate perhaps that the direction was informed by The Living Theater version first performed in 1965.

The Living Theater production was known for being created collectively by the performers as well as for its inventive staging using a large scaffold.

Do any of our former drama students, faculty, or alumni remember this production? If so, please let us know in the comments.

Remember to check out our Research Guide for Theater and Dance and feel free to come check out the Special Collections and Archives this summer from 9-4:30 Monday through Friday and if you would like to see more images of Loyola’s past please visit our Digital Archives 24 hours a day.

World’s Worst Singer?

“Some may say that I couldn’t sing, but no can say that I didn’t sing.”

So said Florence Foster Jenkins, considered by some to be the worst soprano the world has ever seen. The brief celebrity of the “Diva of Din” was a pre-American Idol example of the public ironically supporting the less-than-talented. Though the facts of Jenkins’ early life are much debated, what is known is that she was a wealthy socialite who funded her own debut at Carnegie Hall in 1944. 5,000 people showed up for a 3,000 seat venue, and scalpers were able to sell their two-dollar tickets for $20. Her triumph was short-lived as she passed away only a month later.

In 1946, the Melotone Recording Studio published a brochure about Jenkins written by Milton Bendiner. The brochure includes quotes from the press as well as Jenkins’ supposed complete discography.

One excerpt in the brochure details Earl Wilson of the New York Post discussing Jenkins with her PR rep.

“I asked her personal representative, Sinclair Bayfeld, ‘Why?’

‘She loves music,’ he said.

‘If she loves music, why does she do this?’ I asked.

He said she uses proceeds to assist young artists and, incidentally, she walked away with about 4 G’s last night. Maybe the joke’s on us. None of us walked away from that with anything except a dizziness, a headache, and a ringing in the ears.”

Just how bad was Florence Foster Jenkins? You be the judge. Two of her most “famed” performances were of Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” aria and Delibes’ “Bell Song.” You can also listen to Jenkins’ album The Glory (????) of the Human Voice through Loyola’s Naxos subscription.

Jenkins’ life has inspired two plays, Souvenir and  Glorious!: The True Story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the Worst Singer in the World, and an upcoming movie starring Meryl Streep.

This pamphlet can be viewed in Special Collections & Archives or in the Louisiana Digital Library.

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

Summer Fun

Summer classes are in full swing, but hopefully Loyolans are still finding time for some fun this summer.

The original versions of these photos, and many more, can be found in the Loyola University New Orleans Photograph Collection.

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

Be a Bachelor (or Bacheloress) in New Orleans

#howtotuesday: Be a Bachelor (or Bacheloress) in New Orleans

With the arrival of summer holidays, pleasure-seekers descend upon New Orleans in full force. Whether you are an “unattached gentlemen or lady of spirit visiting” or perhaps a long-time “resident in the Paris of America,” The Bachelor in New Orleans provides a candid guide to the Crescent City. The charming handbook, printed in 1942 and illustrated with vibrant block prints throughout, launches directly into heart of the matter with “Chapter 1: Of Drink and the Devil,” a guide to New Orleans’ most potent beverages and notable bars (many of which are still in operation today).

Additional chapters provide the Bachelor with instruction on fine dining (“be kind to your food, and it will love you…so will the chef”), curing loneliness, surviving Mardi Gras, and my personal favorite, how not to be a tourist.

According to The Bachelor in New Orleans, in order to avoid the horror of being mistaken as a tourist, one should keep the following don’ts in mind:

  • Never, never kick garbage cans! This is a cardinal sin for Bachelors in New Orleans.
  • Never stand and stare at any happening, no matter how rare, outrageous, unseemly, or unconventional it may strike you. If an unusual happening is pleasant or gay, a New Orleans Bachelor unobtrusively takes part in it; if it is unpleasant, the Bachelor in New Orleans unobtrusively takes part in something else.
  • Never raise your voice above Martha Raye’s level. People across the river and in adjoining parishes have to sleep. In the French Quarter, of course, no one could sleep if a sudden quiet fell in the streets. Bed-occupiers would sit bolt upright, in a cold sweat!
  • Never ask an interesting looking individual if he is an artist. He might be one, in which case he will resent you. And if he is not, he may cause you some embarrassment.
  • Do not attempt to direct traffic or dance bands while over-intoxicated. You will not do your best job if you have had one too many, and a most remarkable and unpleasant snarl may result.

And finally,

  • If you are a male Bachelor, never make what could be considered the first pass at any woman you have not known all your life. If she is interested, or can be satisfactorily interested, she will make the first pass—and if you are a Bachelor in New Orleans, you will know when it happens. This rule does not apply to female Bachelors in New Orleans: being females, they have their own rules about these matters and do what they’re going to do anyway.

At any rate, don’t be a tourist.

For further tips on thriving in 1940’s New Orleans, visit the Special Collections & Archives to peruse The Bachelor in New Orleans in full.

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

Bateman Team 1997-

Loyola’s Bateman Team, a group of public relations students from the School of Mass Communication, has just received yet another first place win in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)’s Bateman Case Study Competition. Loyola’s team has consistently placed in the top 3 for the past 15 years. Below are articles from the Maroon covering some of the team’s illustrious history.

1997 Maroon

2000 Maroon

2003 Maroon

2005 Maroon

2010 Maroon

2012 Maroon

Bonus: Bateman bocce ball

2003 Wolf Yearbook

Congratulations to the team!

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

Lafcadio Hearn Letters

Today we are highlighting pages 5-7 of Letter 24 from our Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence collection. This collection primarily consists of letters written between the years 1840-1896 from Hearn to Page Mercer Baker, a New Orleans newspaper founder, reporter and editor.

The Lafcadio Hearn was a reporter, writer, and world traveler who was born in Greece, spent his childhood in Dublin, Ireland, England, and emigrated to the United States living in Cincinnati, New York, and New Orleans to eventually live and be laid to rest in Japan. He is a truly fascinating literary figure known not only for his writing about the darker sides of life, black culture, Japanese ghost stories, and the macabre, but also his life spent as an outsider and traveler.

Follow these links to enjoy a fascinating 2-part radio documentary produced by RTE Lyric FM in Dublin, Ireland and learn more about Hearn’s life and work.

The letter was written in the month of June in 1887 days before he traveled from New York City to Trinidad aboard the Barracouta on an assignment for Harper’s Magazine. The resulting article “Midsummer Trip to The West Indies” appeared in the July 1888 issue of the magazine. Hearn’s excitement for his travel south is obvious as found in the prose of the letter.

Below you will find a transcription of the last 3 pages of the letter. Hearn writes Baker conjuring his connection to New Orleans  “I think I will feel when the steamer cuts the line of parallel with N. O.”   And writes further looking beyond the city with expectation of what he will experience during his travels “I will see New Orleans colors for awhile: – then stranger and weirder colors, and new sky, – unknown lights of another world. And it will be very hot, – as if one were getting closer to the breath of the world….”

Letter 24, pages 5-7

I am writing as usual in a hurry. One day more, Then South. I will pass you by again, and not see you, – but I think I will feel when the steamer cuts the line of parallel with N. O. Then, a few days more and I shall be more than a thousand miles south of you. All the way the sky will deepen it’s blue. – I will see New Orleans colors for awhile: – then stranger and weirder colors, and new sky, – unknown lights of another world. And it will be very hot, – as if one were getting closer to the breath of the world…. After all, I cannot say I feel glad at going. The sensation of belonging to nowhere, – of instability; – nothing solid or certain in life or work or effort, – always comes on one prior to seeking a strange latitude. You understand, as by some sudden revelation, what a monstrous whirl of dust and light all life is, and that you are but one atom of the eddy, – may be laid here, there, anywhere, – to rest a little, to struggle a little, or to shine a moment in the light; but sooner or later all the motes float into the darkness and the silence forever. Before, it will be some consolation to have seen what makes life and thought, – Light, in the most splendid aspect it can offer to human eyes.

Please don’t show my letter to anyone, outside Toledano and Prytania corner, – so that I can write to you just as I want

Always with love to you,

Lafcadio Hearn

Goodbye!

You can find this letter in its entirety along with others in our Digital Library or come and view the complete Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence collection in person Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM in the Special Collections & Archives located on the 3rd floor of Monroe Library.

Now Available: The Stephen Dankner Collection of Musical Works and Papers

From Stephen Dankner's Cello Sonata Movement I (1968)Former Loyola College of Music professor Stephen Dankner donated a collection of his music scores and other papers to Loyola after moving to Massachusetts in 2006. The husband of former Loyola music librarian Laura Dankner, Stephen is a prolific composer and educator who has won awards and commissions from around the world. The majority of the items in this collection are original holograph scores and parts by Dankner as well as sketches (rough-draft pencil outlines for pieces, usually incomplete), printed scores, and research notes. In addition to scores, the collection includes correspondence to and from copyright agencies, friends, performers, publishing companies, record labels, recording studios, and teachers; and concert programs, newspaper and electronic reviews, press releases, and photos. A large portion of the collection is dedicated to the creation and premiere by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra of Symphony No. 5: Odyssey of Faith (2001)—a performance which featured the Loyola University Chorale and soprano and baritone soloists Ellen and Philip Frohnmayer, both College of Music and Fine Arts voice faculty. The items in the collection give a rare insight into the compositional process as well as the business of being a composer.

The finding aid for the collection can be viewed here.

The Stephen Dankner Collection of Musical Works and Papers is open for research use in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives. Special Collections (Room 333, Monroe Library ) is open Monday – Friday from  8:30am to 4:45pm.

For more on Stephen Dankner, search the Monroe Library catalog.