For the Pre-performance Lectures for Tosca on September 12 and 14, the lecturer will be Professor Annie Labatt, Professor of Visual Arts at Sweet Briar College.
Dr. Labatt is well known in San Antonio for her lectures at the San Antonio Museum of Art and the McNay Art Museum. Her twenty lectures at SAMA will be published by Trinity University Press this fall under the title Art History 101…Without the Exams.
Dr. Labatt is a Distinguished Young Alumnus of St. Mary’s Hall. She earned her undergraduate degree from Barnard College (Columbia University) and her PhD from Yale University. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on two major exhibitions, and was a Chester Dale Fellow at the museum. She also was a Fellow of Dumbarton Oaks Center (Harvard University). Her book on 8th and 9th Century Rome is being published this fall, and she is now writing a book on Byzantine Rome.
Tosca is an opera about Rome. The scenes of the opera are set in major locations of Rome—Sant’Andrea della Valle church and the Castel Sant’Angelo. Dr. Labatt not only writes about the art of Rome, but she has been a tour guide herself, both as an undergraduate and as a professor. This spring, she took 16 Sweet Briar students to Rome for three weeks. We can anticipate that her lecture before Tosca will pay some attention to the role of Rome in the opera.
The pre-performance lectures have become an important part of the experience of the opera produced by OPERA San Antonio. Education is an essential part of growing an audience for an art form that has been only intermittently available in our city over the last fifty years. Audiences have really valued the chance to familiarize themselves with aspects of the stories, the composer, and the music of opera. Dr. Kevin Salfen, Professor of Music at the University of the Incarnate Word, has been our regular lecturer. He is travelling this month. We are pleased that in his absence we can welcome home a San Antonio superstar, and we urge her loyal following to come hear what she has to share about an opera and a setting she feels very passionate about.