Happy (belated) birthday!

A few odds and ends from the world of ballet to (hopefully) brighten your day.

The first has nothing to do directly with archives, but I just felt compelled to remark that the special Doodle that was used by Google to celebrate Tchaikovsky’s 170th birthday last week was very cute:

You can watch a video about the collaboration between San Francisco Ballet and Jennifer Hom of Google in creating the birthday tribute on the SFB Website.

In other news, the Atlanta Ballet celebrated its 80th anniversary over the weekend with a special program, Sheer Exhilaration,  which also included an extensive display of archival materials at the theater.  You can read about the exhibit in this post by Howard Pousner on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s blog.  As reported in the article, both the Atlanta History Center and Emory University Libraries’ Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) hold important Atlanta Ballet materials.  Kudos to both institutions for partnering with the Atlanta Ballet to preserve its history.  I did a quick check and was reassured to find that the collections have been cataloged by their respective repositories (yay for catalogers!), but a little saddened that they did not have online finding aids.  On the whole, AHC’s catalog was a little easier to find (although I’m not sure how I feel about the name, “Terminus”), while getting to Emory’s Euclid catalog from its Web site seemed to take a few more clicks.  As always, the message is pretty clear that dance materials seldom are a priority in most large collecting institutions (well, I guess Salman Rushdie’s first flash drive is more interesting), but at least the stuff is there and somewhat accessible!

Finally, lucky New Yorkers still have a chance to catch the final performances of the invaluable New York Theatre Ballet’s well-reviewed Signatures 10 program on May 14 and 15!


Performing Arts Roundtable member, Kit Leary, sent in a copy of this lovely promotional poster (which, hopefully, will display correctly here).  In what sounds sure to be an interesting series of programs, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is simultaneously celebrating both the state’s sesquicentennial and its own historic connection with the 19th century Chautauqua movement. The first of these events is scheduled for this Saturday.  Check it out if you happen to be in the Ashland area or you might consider working one of the others into your summer vacation plans.  Full info is available here.

Although this announcement is coming late, there still is a little time left to catch the final performances of Ballet West’s Treasures of the Ballets Russes program, if you happen to be in the Salt Lake City area.  The company has received rave reviews from the Dance Critic of the New York Times, but Ballet West also has been sponsoring a very elaborate festival, which has brought together several local organizations, to celebrate the Ballets Russes centennial since 4 March.  Check out the extensive calendar of events and the Ballet West blog for more information.  Sorry we didn’t notice sooner!

Portrait of Alvin Ailey by Carl Van Vechten

Portrait of Alvin Ailey by Carl Van Vechten


Those of you in New York, please take advantage of this opportunity to see “rare archival material” screened and a special exhibition of posters from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Walter Reade Theater.

Read the full description of tomorrow’s program here.

Image credit: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Image ID# 1094155

Today marks the first anniversary of this blog’s first public post (well, in this hemisphere, anyway), so happy birthday to us! We’ve persevered through address changes, disappearing images, and other assorted backstage dramas, but we’re still here.

We look forward to bringing you another year of news mainly about the SAA Performing Arts Roundtable, as well as items related to performing arts archives and archivists (and those who love them). And the occasional unnecessary picture of a cat.

Image credit: Glass plate negative of Louis Wain’s ‘A Christmas catastrophe : please, sir, the rat entree has escaped and eaten the turkey.’ Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog #det1994023295/PP.

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

Eugene O’Neill childhood portrait

While not of strictly archival interest (though the event is being sponsored in part by the O’Neill Project of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library), we did notice a poster announcing the tenth anniversary of the O’Neill Festival when stumbling past the Provincetown Playhouse earlier this morning. New Yorkers and visitors with an iron constitution can take in ten nights of free Eugene O’Neill-related productions, readings, and screenings at the storied venue, beginning this Friday, January 4, 2008. You also might want to check out the Eugene O’Neill at Yale myspace page.

Image credit: NYPL Digital Image ID# TH-42003

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