July 31, 2013 Library of Congress Opens Two Exhibits in August: "A Night at the Opera" on Aug. 15 and "March on Washington" on Aug. 28

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Contact: Visit the "Opera" exhibiton online. | Visit the "Day Like No Other" exhibition online. | Pressroom
Contact: Music Division: Raymond A. White (202) 707-1842, James Wintle (202) 707-2703 | Prints and Photographs Division: Maricia Battle (202) 707-0052, Verna Curtis (202) 707-8938

The Library of Congress is opening two exhibitions in August. One will celebrate opera, the majestic art form that has transfixed audiences for more than 400 years, and the other will mark what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the nation’s history.”

Opening on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, will be “A Night at the Opera” in the Performing Arts Reading Room Gallery on the first floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington D.C. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.

Opening on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, will be “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington” in the Graphic Arts Galleries on the ground level of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. That exhibition will be on display through Saturday, March 1, 2014.

Both exhibits are free and open to the public, Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“A Night at the Opera,” a 50-item display, will feature manuscript and printed scores, librettos, photographs, correspondence and set designs, dating from the late 18th century through the beginning of the 20th century. The exhibition will highlight the diversity and breadth of the opera holdings in the Music Division at the Library of Congress.

The exhibit also will commemorate the bicentennials of iconic opera composers Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, both born in 1813. Highlights include holograph manuscript (in the composer’s own handwriting) scores by Verdi and Wagner, as well as extremely rare librettos from the premiere performances of Verdi’s “Aida” (Cairo, 1871) and Wagner’s “Lohengrin” (Weimar, 1850). Other items include early printed scores of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and Verdi’s “Macbeth” with evocative illustrated title pages.

“A Night at the Opera” will feature a number of items on display for the first time, including set designs for “Don Giovanni” and Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” by Oliver Smith (1918-1994) and a colorful set design by Italian Art Nouveau artist Galileo Chini (1873-1956), created for the first production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot” at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1926.

The exhibit is made possible through the sponsorship of the Library’s Music Division and the generous support of The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress. The exhibition curators from the Music Division are Raymond A. White and James E. Wintle. The exhibition director from the Library’s Interpretive Programs Office is Martha Hopkins.

“A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington” opens exactly 50 years after the historic day when 250,000 people participated in the largest non-violent demonstration for civil rights that America had ever witnessed. With a rallying cry of “jobs and freedom,” a diverse crowd gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial to urge Congress to act on proposed legislation.

The exhibit consists of 40 black-and-white images. These photographs—from newspaper and other media photographers, independent photojournalists and people who participated in the march—represent the cross-section of individuals who were there. The images, part of the collections in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, convey the immediacy of being at the march and the palpable excitement of those who were there. The exhibition will allow visitors to rediscover the context and ongoing legacy of this important event in the country’s history.

In addition to the 40 images, another 75 will be shown continuously on a video screen in the exhibit gallery.

Among the photographs on display will be works by:

  • Members of Magnum Photos, the world’s most prestigious photographic agency, including prints by Bruce Davidson, Danny Lyon and Leonard Freed;
  • Freelance photojournalists Bob Adelman and Flip Schulke, well-known for their coverage of the civil rights movement;
  • David S. Johnson, a student of Ansel Adams;
  • AP, UPI, New York World-Telegram and Sun, U.S. News & World Report and Look magazine photographers showing preparations for the event and the march leaders;
  • Roosevelt Carter from Columbus, Ohio, a professional photographer who recorded his experience of the entire day.

A “Day Like No Other” is made possible by the support of the J. J. Medveckis Foundation, the Law Library of Congress, Friends of the Law Library of Congress and the Prints and Photographs Division. The exhibition curators from the Prints and Photographs Division are Maricia Battle and Verna Posever Curtis. The exhibition director from the Library’s Interpretive Programs Office is Kimberli Curry.


PR 13-139
ISSN 0731-3527