Posts Tagged ‘new orleans opera’

A Night at the Opera

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On February 10th, at around 7:30 p.m., I walked into the Mahalia Jackson Theater. I gave the staff my ticket, and walked in. It seemed a little bland at first, but I got a a soda at the bar and made my way to my seat. It was in the center, in the middle of the large auditorium, so it was perfect. They called for the start at 7:55, and then, the curtains rose at around 8:10 after announcements. That’s when a man hobbled to the center of the stage, and started to break out into song about a demon barber.

The New Orleans Opera Association performed Sweeney Todd last weekend, and I had the chance to go see it. After scanning the pamphlets for months, I must admit, I was curious to see the opera for myself.

Although they missed out a chance to make it a dinner theater, it was still amazing. The voices were extremely talented, the set was wonderful, and how they managed to make blood spurt 10 feet into the air still confuses me. If anyone is not familiar with the story, I apologize. It is exactly what it sounds like. The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd, slit throats with a razor in order to fulfill his thirst for revenge. They inconspicuously managed to put a device on the victims and make blood spurt, even getting some on the orchestra, before making the chair seat drop and the body fell through the floor and into the basement, where they were ground up for meat pies. That thankfully was just props.  The show totaled up to 3 hours, with a 20 minute intermission, and it was 11 when I got out. Even though I was absolutely tired, ready to peel my makeup off and curl up in some blankets, I had such a wonderful time.

For anyone that hasn’t gone to see the New Orleans Opera, I highly recommend you go. They’re currently in their 74th year, so if there’s any year that you should go, it’s the next. They have numerous performances planned until then, so if you want to have a night of pure talent and have your mind blown, give them a visit!

We also have an exhibit on the New Orleans Opera Association in Special Collections & Archives and  pamphlets in our digital collections if you are curious to learn about their history.

-This blog was written by student worker Miranda

Thank you New Orleans Opera Board!

Last night, Special Collections & Archives was pleased to host the New Orleans Opera Board for a viewing of our exhibits, LOYNOOA: Loyola University and Opera in New Orleans, and Encore! Encore! Bravi! Presenting the New Orleans Opera Association Archives.

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Thank you to the Opera Board for coming and seeing a small portion of this wonderful collection.

Sounds of New Orleans Opera

We’ve blogged previously about the newly processed New Orleans Opera Association Archives and our exhibit, Encore! Encore! Bravi! Presenting the New Orleans Opera Association Archives many times now, but did you know you can also HEAR historic recordings of the New Orleans Opera?

Thanks to the generosity of the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Special Collections & Archives has recordings of excerpts from three NOOA performances available on Soundcloud and youtube:

These represent only a small fraction of the audiovisual materials available in the New Orleans Opera Association Archives. The collection contains ~500 reel-to-reels and ~100 visual media (VHS, Betacam, and more) that are in danger of deterioration. Contact archives@loyno.edu for more information about our digitization program.

#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.

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.