Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Toast to the Fallen Woman

Danielle Rice, executive director of the Delaware Art Museum, hosted a delightful open discussion about fallen women of the Nineteenth Century and asked the audience why the theme permeated literature, music and art of the time. She started the ball rolling by showing slides of art depicting fallen women. Her first example was William Holdman Hunt’s The awakening conscience since it had been completed in the same year as Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata (the fallen woman). Her partner in leading the discussion was Lee Kimball, general and artistic director of Opera Delaware, who will present La Traviata at the Grand Opera House on November 7, 12 and 13. The two are friends, which made the lively discussion even more fun. Mr. Kimball bravely pointed out that usually it is the fallen woman who gets killed or arrested or punished, while the fallen man tends to walk away with only a few regrets.

After the discussion, the crowd mingled and enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks which they brought to the entrance hall of the museum, where the grand piano was waiting for Jeffrey Miller, chorus master and associate music director of Opera Delaware and Colleen Daly, soprano and Alak Kumar, tenor. The two will be singing the lead roles in La Traviata and if this foretaste in which they sang La Brindisi is any indication, the next time we hear those two could be at Lincoln Center.

The intimacy of the setting, the lively discussion and the informal concert made it feel as if we were attending a party at Barone Douphol’s house watching Alfredo flirt with Violetta in front of her rich lover…

Having had the hors d’oeuvre, my appetite has been whetted for the main course. See you at the Grand.


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