August 22, 2012 Opera Houses, from Antiquity to the Present, Are Subject of Book Discussion

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

According to author Victoria Newhouse, in her new book, “Sight and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls” (The Monacelli Press, 2012), “Like medieval cathedrals, today’s opera houses symbolize wealth and power.”

Newhouse will discuss and sign her book on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at noon in Room LJ 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

The author argues that although the exteriors of opera houses and concert halls have “become ever more daring, the interiors of many performance spaces have remained frozen due to considerations of acoustics.”

“Does music serve the space, or does the space serve the music?” Newhouse will discuss this question and more during her program.

Victoria Newhouse is an architectural historian. Her books include “Towards a New Museum” and “Art and the Power of Placement.” Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, ArtNews and Architectural Digest.

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading- promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a leading voice for contemporary art and culture and provides a national platform for the art and artists of our time. The museum seeks to share the transformative power of modern and contemporary art with audiences at all levels of awareness and understanding by creating meaningful, personal experiences in which art, artists, audiences and ideas converge. The Hirshhorn enhances public understanding and appreciation of contemporary art through acquisition, exhibitions, education, public programs, conservation and research.


PR 12-158
ISSN 0731-3527