Lincoln Center, New York City
The American Bicentennial Exhibition
The PERFORMING ARTS in AMERICA
© Stanley Roseman and Ronald Davis - All Rights Reserved
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Lincoln Center Plaza with the banner announcing the exhibition
Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America
at the Library and Museum for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, 1977
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
2. James McCracken as Otello in the Production by Franco Zeffirelli, 1972
Pen and bistre ink, 35 x 27 cm
Collection of the artist
Autographed and inscribed:
To Stanley, with admiration
Opera, Theatre, and Dance
''To Stanley, with admiration'' - Franco Zeffirelli
At the dress rehearsal of Franco Zeffirelli's production of Verdi's Otello in March 1972, Roseman was seated in the front of the darkened auditorium and drawing by the light coming from the stage. With a lively use of pen and bistre ink, Roseman drew James McCracken as Otello, a role for which the dramatic tenor was internationally acclaimed. In the present work, (fig. 2), Otello is seated at his desk crowded with large, leather volumes, scrolls, and an inkwell from which extends a quill pen. A stone column rises behind his desk. The pyramidal composition leads the viewer's eye up to the Moor's noble head, with strong, facial features and dark hair and beard. Otello's head leans heavily on his chest, and with downcast eyes, he sits absorbed in thought. A great sense of contained emotion is expressed in this superb drawing.
As Roseman was completing the drawing, someone placed a hand on his shoulder, and exclaimed ''Bravo!'' The young artist glanced up and saw standing by his side Franco Zeffirelli himself.
The Performing Arts in America Exhibition
American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Martha Graham Dance Company on the occasion of the company's 50th Anniversary in 1975 were represented in the exhibition. Also included were Roseman's drawings from Great Britain's Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and Belgium's Béjart Ballet performing in New York City.
Bringing a festive, joyful presence to the exhibition were Roseman's portrait paintings, drawings, and engravings of the celebrated clowns of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Poster for the American Bicentennial exhibition
The Performing Arts in America
''The moments Roseman has captured are many and varied," writes The Saratogian, the Saratoga Springs daily, "and a walk through the exhibition is a trip through what will be our cultural heritage.''
The Curtis Institute of Music, one of the world's leading music conservatories, presented the exhibition in Philadelphia. The exhibition toured the United States through to the summer of 1976, when the Saratoga Performing Arts Center brought the exhibition to the historic region of Saratoga County, in east central New York. The victorious Battle of Saratoga fought by General George Washington's Continental Army in the autumn of 1777 was decisive in the War for American Independence.
Francis Robinson was a leading figure in theatre management at the Metropolitan Opera for thirty years and noted author and host of the "Live from the Met'' telecasts.
5. Stanley Roseman and the renowned musical comedy star Gwen Verdon at the opening of the exhibition The Performing Arts in America, Lincoln Center,1977. The exhibition included a suite of Roseman's fine drawings created at performances of the Broadway musical Chicago, choreographed by Bob Fosse and starring his long-time muse the incomparable Gwen Verdon.
The Performing Arts in America exhibition poster was selected for the 5th International Poster Biennale, National Poster Museum, Warsaw, and acquired for the collection of the Museum.
Roseman's work encompassed theatre productions on Broadway and Off-Broadway; at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.; and the American Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, Connecticut.
Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America exhibition, produced by Ronald Davis, opened on the eve of the American Bicentennial celebrations in December 1975 in the historic city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
Page 3 - The Performing Arts in America Exhibition
Roseman's work dedicated to the performing arts culminated with the American Bicentennial exhibition Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America. The exhibition included drawings from productions at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Greater Miami Opera, San Antonio Opera, London's D'Oyly Carte Opera performing in New York, and Moscow's Bolshoi Opera on the occasion of the company's American premiere in 1975.
The White House, Washington, D.C.
Library of Congress,Washington, D.C.
Library and Museum for the Performing Arts,
Lincoln Center, New York City
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Musée de l'Affiche, Paris
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
Museo Teatrale alla Scala, Milan
Deutsches Plakat Museum, Essen
Roseman was the guest speaker at a luncheon in Bern, Switzerland, in 1985, attended by the American Ambassador's wife Francesca Lodge. Following the luncheon the artist sent gifts of The Performing Arts in America Bicentennial exhibition poster to the Ambassador and his wife and for the American Embassy. Roseman received a gracious letter from the Honorable John Davis Lodge.
"My wife and I thank you for your kind thought in sending us the beautiful posters portraying a sample of your work.
"It is very encouraging to see subjects such as "Performing Arts in America'' being promoted in such an appealing manner as your "Clown'' series. My wife and I both belonged to the performing arts world, I in the theatre and the movies and Francesca in the ballet, so we appreciate the essence of that world captured by your artistry.
"Thank you once again for your thoughtfulness. With all best wishes, sincerely,"
- John Davis Lodge
American Ambassador to Switzerland
The Performing Arts in America Exhibition at Lincoln Center
The Performing Arts in America exhibition concluded its national tour at the Library and Museum for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, New York City, winter-spring, 1977. That year continued the American Bicentennial celebrations and was significant for the exhibition to conclude at Lincoln Center, where five years before, Roseman began his work on the performing arts.
The Lincoln Center Library and Museum published a special limited edition, silk screen poster, (fig. 4), announcing the Roseman exhibition. The poster, printed in blue, white, and gold, is based on the artist's pen, brush, and bistre ink drawing with three depictions of Morris Carnovsky in his acclaimed role as King Lear at the American Shakespeare Festival, 1975. (See "Biography," Page 2 - "World of Shakespeare.")
4. Poster published by the Library and Museum for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, for the exhibition Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America.
The Roseman exhibition at Lincoln Center opened on February 14th. The opening on Valentine's Day was especially appropriate for an exhibition that was a tribute to the talented and dedicated performers who have deeply moved, captivated, and delighted countless audiences in theatres, opera houses, and at the circus.
At the Opening of the Exhibition
6. Seen in the photograph at the right are the celebrated actress Hermione Gingold, famous for her co-starring role in the movie musical Gigi, and Francis Robinson, distinguished Assistant General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, being welcomed by Stanley Roseman at the opening of The Performing Arts in America exhibition at Lincoln Center.
Robinson had admired Roseman's work at the outset of the artist's career in New York City in the early 1970's and cordially invited Roseman to draw at the Metropolitan Opera.
Hermione Gingold, Francis Robinson, and Stanley Roseman
The exciting world of the performing arts is a major theme in Roseman's oeuvre. Roseman began his work on the performing arts in 1972 with a gracious invitation from the administration of the Metropolitan Opera, housed in the grand, multi-arched edifice that opens onto Lincoln Center Plaza.
After the rehearsal and deeply appreciative of Zeffirelli's enthusiasm, Roseman asked him if he would autograph the drawing. Zeffirelli gladly did so and included a personal inscription: ''To Stanley, with admiration.'' As the eminent Italian director, an artist himself, had worked with many celebrated performers in plays and operas by the greatest dramatists and composers, Zeffirelli's esteem for Roseman's draughtsmanship was an auspicious beginning to his work on the performing arts.
With invitations from leading opera, theatre, and dance companies, Roseman drew at dress rehearsals and performances from the front of the auditorium and from the wings of the stage singers, actors, and dancers in starring roles as well as supporting players and members of the chorus and the corps de ballet in a spectrum of memorable cultural events from the exciting world of the performing arts.
With an equally gracious invitation from the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Roseman took to the road with his drawing materials and his easel, paint box, and canvases. In the private, backstage realm known as "Clown Alley,'' Roseman created a critically acclaimed work on the subject of the circus clown. ''Circus clowns are one of the glittering joys of all of our lives, whether we are young or old,'' states The New York Times in its superlative review ''Spirit of the Clown'' and subtitled ''Paintings by Stanley Roseman glow with a shiny dignity.'' ("Biography," Page 4 - Spirit of the Clown.")
The selection of Roseman's work presented below from The Performing Arts in America exhibition includes productions from the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Bolshoi Opera. There follows a selection of Roseman's drawings on the theatre.
For five seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, Roseman drew at dress rehearsals and performances. Productions ranged from Puccini's jewel of operatic comedy Gianni Schicchi to Meyerbeer's grand opera Le Prophète.
A prolific draughtsman, Roseman uses a variety of drawing materials with great versatility. The artist drew the portrait of Birgit Nilsson with brush, bistre ink, and wash. With the tip of his brush, Roseman delineates the dramatic soprano's facial features, and with calligraphic brushstrokes the artist renders her flowing, brown hair. Roseman's concentration on physiognomy and the immediacy of expression in the drawing go beyond the theatrical personage on stage to reveal the individual.
"Our portrait gallery seems to be exactly the right place for the fine portrait of Birgit Nilsson, and we consider it an honor to integrate it into our collection.''
- Hans Åstrand, Permanent Secretary
Royal Academy of Music, Stockholm
7. Birgit Nilsson, 1974
Brush, bistre ink, and wash, 40 x 30 cm
Royal Academy of Music,
Presented here, (fig. 7), is "the fine portrait of Birgit Nilsson" acquired for the collection of the Royal Academy of Music, Stockholm. Roseman drew the great Swedish soprano in her acclaimed role as Brünnhilde in Wagner's Götterdämmerung. The new Metropolitan Opera production of Götterdämmerung in the 1973-74 season completed the Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle for the first presentations of the Ring at the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center.
"The Academy wishes to express its gratitude for this valuable addition to its gallery of famous Swedish artists and personalities in the field of music. . . .
8. Sir Peter Pears, 1974
Death in Venice
Pencil on paper, 30 x 20 cm
Thomas Mann Archives, Zurich
10. Samuel Ramey, 1977
New York City Opera
Pencil on paper, 35 x 27 cm
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris
The American premiere of Benjamin Britten's opera Death in Venice, based on the novella by Thomas Mann, opened at the Metropolitan Opera in November 1974. The renowned English tenor Sir Peter Pears made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of Gustav von Aschenbach, a distinguished but fatigued writer whose vacation in sunny Venice in 1911 is disturbed by his conflicting images of Apollo and Dionysius and the spread of cholera throughout the City.
Opera magazine, London, published the drawing presented here, (fig. 8), and states: "In 1974, Roseman drew during three performances of Death in Venice, which had Peter Pears in the role of Aschenbach, and captured the essence of the opera in his series of over thirty drawings.''
Zürichsee-Zeitung, the Zurich daily, writes in an article on Roseman's drawings from the opera Death in Venice:
"The characters created by Thomas Mann experienced a multiple interpretation and transformation, first by the stage adaptation, then by the actor interpreting his role,
and finally by the draughtsman through his portraits.''
9. Sir Geraint Evans, 1976
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Drypoint engraving, 16 x 12 cm
National Museum of Wales,
Roseman was invited to draw at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1974 on the occasion of the company's twentieth anniversary season. Verdi's last opera, Falstaff, adapted from Shakespeare's comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, and with passages taken from Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, provided Roseman with a marvelous subject for his work in the personage of Falstaff as portrayed by Sir Geraint Evans. Sir Geraint directed the production and sang the role of Shakespeare's amorous "fat knight,'' one of the celebrated Welsh baritone's greatest roles.
The Museum's Keeper of the Department of Art, Rollo Charles, acknowledging receipt of the donation, expresses his appreciation in an enthusiastic letter to Davis: "I write at once to send you our warmest thanks.
"Stanley Roseman's two portraits are fine works of art,
and I am delighted to have them in our collection."
- Rollo Charles, Keeper of the Department of Art
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
Roseman's drawings on opera in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France include two splendid sheets from the Bolshoi Opera's famous production of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, based on the tragedy by Pushkin.
The Bolshoi Opera drawings depict bass Yevgeni Nesterenko in the title role as the tormented Tsar, (fig. 11), and tenor Georgi Andriushchenko as the sly Prince Shuisky, a long-bearded figure clothed in a fur-collared overcoat.
In the drawing of Nesterenko as Boris Godunov, Roseman draws with strong, dark, pencil strokes to express physiognomy and heighten the dramatic intensity of the commanding figure. The bearded Tsar is seen here in three-quarter profile, his head lifted as he leans forward with an intense stare under arched eyebrows. Boris Godunov wears an elaborately jewelled robe and fur-trimmed crown surmounted by a cross.
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France also conserves Roseman's drawings from Meyerbeer's Le Prophète, Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment, and Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. An enthusiastic letter from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France states in acquiring the Roseman drawings:
- Bibliothèque Nationale de France
11. Yevgeni Nesterenko, 1975
Pencil on paper, 35 x 25 cm
Bibliothèque Nationale de France,
The National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, acquired the drypoint Sir Geraint Evans, (fig. 9), that Roseman based on one of his drawings. The process of drypoint engraving is the most akin to drawing of the intaglio printing techniques. The artist draws directly into a copper or zinc plate with a sharp-pointed metal stylus which leaves minute ridges of metal called "burr'' to the incised lines and holds the ink when printed, giving drypoint its characteristic quality.
The drypoint captures the humor of Falstaff's character. Falstaff, seen in profile with his large stomach protruding and an arm outstretched in front of him, points with an index finger. Delicate incising renders the fringe of curls on the knight's bald head and the wispiness of his upturned moustache, enriched by the drypoint burr. Fluent lines define a voluminous sleeve and lacy cuff of the tunic. Staccato, parallel hatching in the background suggests the musical passages of Act One, Part 2, with the chattering, singing voices of the merry wives of Windsor.
The National Museum of Wales acquired the drypoint engraving and a portrait drawing in pen, brush, and bistre ink of Sir Geraint Evans as Falstaff. Ronald Davis, who made the donation to the Museum, was stage manager and assistant director at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and worked closely with Sir Geraint on Falstaff. "I enjoyed an amiable and instructive relationship with Sir Geraint early in my career in theatre and opera,'' recalls Davis. "We also shared a common heritage as my paternal ancestors were Welsh.''
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France conserves a suite of Roseman's drawings on opera from The Performing Arts in America exhibition; a portfolio of drypoint engravings entitled Clowns - Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus; and drawings from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France exhibition Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris.
From the New York City Opera production of Boito's operatic version of Goethe's Faust is the forceful drawing of bass Samuel Ramey as the demonic Mephistopheles, (fig. 10). In this bold, diagonal composition, Roseman places the figure low on the page and renders the devilish visage with dark strokes of the pencil. The menacing figure's left arm is thrust high into the air, accentuating the feeling of movement and suspense.
The Bolshoi Opera, from Moscow, made its historic American premiere in 1975 at the Metropolitan Opera House. Roseman received a gracious invitation from the Bolshoi Opera to draw at the closed dress rehearsals and at subsequent performances.
Tass News Agency covered the exhibition at the Lincoln Center Museum and enthusiastically wrote:
''The citizens of New York have the wonderful opportunity to see an exhibition of paintings and drawings on the performing arts by the talented American artist Stanley Roseman.''
The Lincoln Center exhibition included Roseman's drawings from the Bolshoi Opera's productions of Prokofiev's The Gambler, after the novel by Dostoyevsky; Molchanov's The Dawns are Quiet Here, about an isolated garrison of Russian women soldiers during the Second World War; and Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov.
The Thomas Mann Archives, Zurich, acquired a suite of Roseman's drawings from the opera Death in Venice. The preeminent collection on the life and literary work of the Nobel Prize-winning author, who returned to Switzerland in his late years, is housed in the university library of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH). The Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, also acquired Roseman's drawings from the opera. A drawing by the artist of Peter Pears as Aschenbach is conserved in the Britten-Pears Foundation Library at Aldeburgh.
The impressive drawing depicts Sir Peter Pears as Aschenbach in the opera's final scene, which takes place on the Lido. Roseman evokes pathos in the solitary figure of advancing years who rests in a beach chair, his head leaning back and his face turned upwards. With fine pencil lines and shading and detailed rendering of the man's face, Roseman has beautifully and poignantly expressed the moment Aschenbach succumbs to death.
- Zürichsee-Zeitung, Zurich
1. Biographical information on Ronald Davis and his partnership with Stanley Roseman is related on the Contact page.
2. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France presented the exhibition Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris
at the Bibliothèque - Musée de l'Opéra, 1996.
Please note that the website has been republished for Internet Explorer 11.
The Performing Arts in America
exhibition continues on the following page. The page begins with drawings from the Broadway production of Peter Shaffer's Equus
and includes a drawing of Richard Burton inscribed:
"To Stan many thanks Richard Burton"
DRAWINGS - the THEATRE
The distinguished musicologist and author Hans Åstrand, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Academy of Music, praises "Mr. Roseman's fine drawing of Birgit Nilsson" in correspondence with Ronald Davis, who introduced Roseman's work to the Academy.
Lincoln Center announced the exhibition with a large banner inscribed "Stanley Roseman - Paintings & Drawings of the Performing Arts.'' That was the first time a banner for an art exhibition was displayed in Lincoln Center Plaza, which incorporates the Metropolitan Opera House, New York State Theatre, Philharmonic Hall, and the Library and Museum for the Performing Arts. (See top of the page.)