Exhibition Archives





Curtain Up on the Classics

Operas, Ballets, Musicals, Plays

September 1, 2010 | January 17, 2011


Once again exploring the scope of the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, curator Jody Blake presents a grand tour of classic operas, ballets, musicals, and plays in the next McNay installation, which opens in September. The goal of the theatre designers in the exhibition is to create convincing worlds in space and time, whether from the map or the imagination.

In four thematic sections, enter first “Fiery Torments: Legends of Faust and Don Juan” and see designs with Mozart’s infamous Spanish womanizer, Don Giovanni, plunged into the mouth of Hell straight from Last Judgment scenes of medieval cathedrals.  Move on to “Dancing with Kings” to delight in the Ballets Russes version of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, with the Lilac Fairy amid baroque opulence, in costumes by the legendary Léon Bakst.


In “Forbidden City: Puccini’s Turandot,” experience the Chinese imperial city as paradoxically beautiful as Puccini’s princess Turandot, who dispatches one suitor after another until the riddle of love is solved. Finally, from Damn Yankees to Mame, “A New Window on America: The Eckarts Design for Broadway” exudes the expansive self-confidence of post- World War II America. To further transport you, the McNay is borrowing costumes from the Metropolitan Opera and the Santa Fe Opera, by such legendary designers as Eugene Berman and Willa Kim. Opulent cloaks and fantastic headdresses join hidden treasures from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.

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