Thursday, October 6, 2011

Back Stage

By Chris Rossi, Associate Curator of Exhibitions

Or should I say, below the stage?

One of the things I love about my job is going where mere mortals usually don’t get to go. Let’s face it, we all like to have the restricted access door opened for us, or the velvet rope pulled aside for our entrance into some institution’s inner sanctum. Viewing a museum’s inner workings or collections is a real treat.

So you can imagine my enthusiasm when coworker Michelle Murdock and I got a behind the scenes peek at the Metropolitan Opera archives. The Fenimore Art Museum and the Glimmerglass Festival are enjoying creative collaborations, with our museum launching exhibits that are in tune (pardon the pun) with Glimmerglass’s repertoire. On that note, the Metropolitan Opera has kindly opened its considerable collections to us for possible display next year.

If you are an opera fan a visit to the Met Opera archives is a plunge into sensory overload. Walls are covered with images of famous singers and conductors while the storage area is neatly packed with costumes sporting the Met Opera label and familiar names such as Price, Ponselle and Domingo. Music from the dress rehearsals, going on overhead, is piped into the archives. Heady stuff, and a wonderful way for us to shape up an exhibit for next year!

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