March 2008

But where is she leaving her papers?

You can see her take her final bows in a video on the Reuters site or watch her in action on a YouTube video below:


As reported in Reuters, the Vienna State Opera opened a small exhibition on Monday commemorating a dark period in its history. The display, which is entitled “70 Jahre danach,” reveals the treatment of the venerable institution’s Jewish employees following the Nazi annexation of Austria seventy years ago today. A brief description of the show as well as some images of original documents can be found on the Web site of the Staatsoper.

Metropolitan Opera House‘Tis the season for performing arts companies to promote their new seasons.

The Metropolitan Opera recently announced its plans for the gala opening night program of its 125th Anniversary season scheduled for March 15, 2009. As reported in today’s New York Times, “the evening will feature stars, so far unnamed, performing in costume before projected sets recreating historic moments at the Met.”

Anniversaries always bring an organization’s archives to the forefront and the Metropolitan Opera Archives can be justly proud not only of its ongoing contributions to the company’s Web site as a whole, but to the interesting resources it provides to the public on its own portion of the site. The most prominent of these tools is the MetOpera Database, but there are other riches available on the site as well. I was struck anew by this fact while reading through the Times obituary of tenor Giuseppe di Stefano, which concludes with his own musings on his career and reputation in later life: “I don’t have to go around insisting that I had one of the great voices. Fortunately, I made enough recordings to let people judge for themselves.” Those seeking instant gratification can simply click on over to the Sounds of the Met portion of the Metropolitan Opera Archives site, which makes it easy to find at least one or two samples of just about every major performer who appeared at the Met.

By sheer coincidence, I also noticed that yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of baritone Leonard Warren on stage during a performance of La Forza del Destino in 1960, arguably one of the most dramatic moments in Met history. Hopefully this won’t be one of those “historic moments” recreated in the 2009 gala.

Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery Image ID #1558429

There’s still time to send in a submission…*

Call For Papers

Deadline: All proposals for papers must be received by 31st March 2008.

There will be three types of papers considered for the 2008 conference programme:

Invited Papers: A number of keynote speakers will be invited to participate.

Full Papers: A paper addressing one of the stated themes (see below). Full papers should last 20 minutes.

Exhibition Papers: Papers will be issued to delegates and presented as part of an exhibition and trade fair session on August 28th. Presenters will be expected to discuss their papers with delegates and will be provided with an opportunity to demonstrate an audio-visual or online resource (digitisation, electronic archive, database, etc). Roving French/English interpreters will be available.

All presenters will be listed in the conference programme and their papers will be published in the subsequent published Proceedings.

Conference Themes

Papers on the following themes will be welcomed:

The ephemeral nature of performing arts documentation and examples of projects which have attempted to present documentary material in an innovative way, in traditional or electronic formats.

Lessons to be learned from other disciplines and cultures about the challenge of recording intangible heritage.

Examples of innovative methods of collecting evidence through, for example, reminiscence work; oral history projects; proactive collecting through close collaboration with performing artists, etc.

Exercises in recording the whole process – in creating a production from the initial idea through to public performance.

The special characteristics of specific forms of documentary materials: such as costumes, photographs, designs, etc, and their reliability as a source of evidence.

Re-staging and reconstructions as a means of reliving theatrical performance.

Format for Proposals

Please complete the Proposal Form and e-mail to All proposals must

be submitted in full by 31st March 2008.

An expert panel from SIBMAS’s executive committee will consider proposals. Prospective

presenters will be contacted by 28th April 2008 with the panel’s decision.

*Image credit: The City of Glasgow Pavilion at the 1938 Empire Exhibition from the NYPL Digital Gallery, Digital Record ID 1525311.

Yes, it has been a longer-than-expected hiatus but we hope to resume more regular blogging here soon.

Not strictly of archival interest, but in its latest creative deployment of new media, New York City Ballet recently announced the establishment of its own YouTube channel. It currently features an introductory video about the Company. Beginning on March 9, the site will offer videos that document NYCB’s upcoming tour of London (the first in 25 years).