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'In Her Own Hand' at Loeb Music

Drawing on the collection of HCL's Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, "In Her Own Hand: Operas Composed by Women, 1625-1939" is an exhibition that highlights historical contributions of women to opera, and traces the development of opera from the Italian courts to Versailles in the 17th century, then to the courts of the Holy Roman Empire and the German "Princely States" in the 18th century, and finally to the public opera houses of post-Revolutionary Paris and beyond. The exhibition continues in the Loeb Music Library's Richard French Gallery through December 1.

April Lynn James, PhD '02, collaborated with library staff members Sarah Adams and Ruth Neils to stage the exhibition. "One of my primary interests in musicology is the recovery of women's works. This exhibit offered me a prime opportunity to do just that. For instance, we have included a section entitled 'Unknown Except by Their Works,' which displays pieces by virtually unknown female composers. Some scores are being seen by researchers and music scholars for the first time, and I hope to eventually perform and record some of the material so it can be heard as well." James drew from the Loeb Music Library's Ruth Neils and John M. Ward Collection of Opera Scores for the content of the exhibition.

The exhibition features Maria Antonia, Electress of Saxony, composer and librettist for Il trionfo della fedeltÓ ("The Triumph of Fidelity," 1756) and Talestri, regina delle amazzone ("Talestri, Queen of the Amazons," 1765), who also performed in their premieres. The exhibition also includes works by Sophie Gail (1775-1819), composer of romances and opÚras comiques, and Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729), the first woman to have a work staged at the Paris Opera.

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Last modified on Wednesday, July 23, 2003.