Raving Beauty: The Exhibition
“I didn’t expect the sort of frank beauty that you ﬁnd in these archives, this sort of unabashed emotional outpouring in some of these letters”—composer Joseph Hallman
How do you turn documents into music? As part of The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), the Rosenbach commissioned Composer-in-Residence Joseph Hallman to create a musical piece based on the life of controversial writer and socialite Mercedes de Acosta. Hallman’s response was Raving Beauty, a song cycle exploring Acosta’s relationships with the women in her life, including actress Greta Garbo, dancer Isadora Duncan, and Acosta’s sister, the fashion icon Rita Lydig.
This companion exhibition in the Drawing Room gallery allows a behind-the-music look at some of the objects which inpired Hallman, combined with commentary drawn from a series of interviews with the composer. From Rita Lydig’s designer Yantorny shoes to a sensual poem by Isadora Duncan to a birthday card from the Stravinskys, visitors will be able to encounter the Acosta material for themselves and draw their own inspiration
Listen to one of the three song cycles created by Joseph Hallman here:
Rushing Through the Garden, performed on April 9th 2011 by the Dolce Suono Ensemble and Abigail Haynes-Lennox
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