Gordon Getty Concert Series Features Living Pictures: An Evening of Music, Dance, Theater, and Spectacle From the Neapolitan Salons of Sir William and the Two Lady Hamiltons
February 27, 2002
Los Angeles--The J. Paul Getty Museum presents Living Pictures: An Evening of Music, Dance, Theater, and Spectacle from the Neapolitan Salons of Sir William and the Two Lady Hamiltons on Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m. Inspired by the elegant 18th-century, theatrical gatherings of tableaux vivants, director Michael Hackett stages a series of "living pictures" vividly depicting the vibrant salons of Sir William and the two Lady Hamiltons. This unique performance is accompanied by the lush sounds of Musica Angelica, who specialize in the music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, directed by archlutenist Michael Eagan.
The evening is offered in conjunction with three exhibitions at the Getty Center that highlight the Getty collections and focus on Italy on the Grand Tour: Naples and Vesuvius on the Grand Tour (through March 24), Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour (through May 12), and Rome on the Grand Tour (through August 11).
From 1764 to 1800, Sir William Hamilton, as British envoy to the Neapolitan court, was one of the dominant artistic forces in Naples. Catherine, his first wife, was a harpsichord virtuosa who played for notable figures such as Mozart. Hamilton's second wife, the beautiful Emma, became famous for her theatrical interpretations of Greek vase paintings. German poet and dramatist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, praised the performance of these "Attitudes" that inspired many important artists, painters, and writers.
According to Hackett, the performance strives to create "live pictures" of the exciting period surrounding the French Revolution, and to reflect how Sir William, Catherine, and Emma embraced the nature of beauty, art, and taste in their daily lives. As genial hosts and lovers of the arts, the Hamiltons surrounded themselves with musicians, painters, and scholars. Living Pictures reflects this wide range of artistry through music, stage action, and projected imagery. The program will feature music by composers who actually performed in the Hamiltons' house including Mozart, Niccolò Jommelli, and Felice Giardini who was the Hamiltons' violin teacher. Of particular note is the performance of a musical text found at UCLA that is inscribed specifically to Hamilton from Giardini called Sonata for Violin and Bass Opus 7, #1. Other music of the era by Francesco Durante, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, George Frideric Handel, and Thomas Augustine Arne will also be highlighted.
In addition to sounds of the time, Living Pictures includes projected imagery of paintings by 18th-century artists who visited the Hamiltons such as Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Le Brun, Pietro Fabris, Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, Angelica Kauffmann, and David Allen. The stage performance ranges from period dances to salon recreations, and includes readings from journals and letters by people who visited the Hamiltons such as Goethe, Admiral Horatio Nelson, Irish tenor Michael Kelly, and writer and musical scholar, Charles Burney.
Hackett has directed for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the Royal Theatre at the Hague; the Centrum Sztuki Studio and Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw; the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; the Los Angeles Opera (children's series); and L.A. Theatre Works. He was the artistic producer for Robert Wilson's King Lear at Studio One, Metromedia in Hollywood, and he was co-producer with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles for two radio plays directed by Peter Sellars.
This performance is part of the ongoing Gordon Getty Concert Series, designed to place exhibitions in a richer cultural context. Performances are held in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium, 1200 Getty Center Drive. Tickets are $25; students/seniors $20, and are available at the J. Paul Getty Museum Information Desk or by calling 310-440-7300.
UPCOMING GORDON GETTY CONCERT
Saturday, May 18; 7 p.m. lecture/8 p.m. concert
Music of the Dutch Golden Age (working title) features Musica Angelica, directed by Michael Eagan. The concert complements The Sacred Spaces of Pieter Saenredam exhibition. Dutch musicologist, Frank de Munnik, will give a pre-concert lecture. Tickets are $20; students/seniors $15, and are available at the J. Paul Getty Museum Information Desk or by calling 310-440-7300. The performance is held in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium, 1200 Getty Center Drive.
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