It's not easy being a Great Opera Diva when . . . An illustrated slideshow of (Mostly) Heartbreaking challenges Faced by Celebrated women singers, 1700-1920

By Kathleen McDermott

From August to November 2017, I made a drawing a day and posted them to an on-line portfolio of 100 illustrations exploring history of fashion. There you'll see divas, tiaras, hats, hair-dos, women's history, and more.

This illustrated slideshow presents 11 drawings from my daily sketchbook.

It's not easy being a Great Opera Diva when . . .

. . . you are a serf!


Parasha Kuznetova, known as "Zhemchugova" or "Pearl"

. . . your maid forgets to warm up your jewels!


Nellie Melba

. . . men suggest that your intelligence and drive is because you might really be a man!


Pauline Garcia Viardot

. . . your father is your teacher and he knows no limits!


Maria Garcia Malibran

. . . your husband steals the diamonds from your tiara!


Lillian Nordica

. . . you're non-binary!


La Maupin

. . . promoters plant fake news about your raging rivalry!


Francesca Cuzzoni, Faustina Bordoni

. . . You have to stay in a Different hotel than the white cast!


Sissieretta Jones

. . . your husband Makes you sick!


Isabella Colbran

. . . you're traveling with 25 trunks!


Lina Cavalieri, Geraldine Farrar, Olive Fremstad, Adelina Patti, Nellie Melba

. . . laws allow wastrel husbands to steal your money!


Maria Malibran, Giulia Grisi, Adelina Patti

Public domain diva photo images; all illustrations ©2017 Kathleen McDermott, DIVA Museum. Please credit.

Learn More About Divas

Diva Fashion Show and Couture Costumes!

What divas were up against: Diva: Goddess or Social Outcast?

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.