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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!

1785

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

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

1905

Nellie Melba

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

1893

Pauline Garcia Viardot

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

1820s

Maria Garcia Malibran

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

1905

Lillian Nordica

. . . you're non-binary!

1700

La Maupin

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

1727

Francesca Cuzzoni, Faustina Bordoni

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

1892

Sissieretta Jones

. . . your husband Makes you sick!

1822-1845

Isabella Colbran

. . . you're traveling with 25 trunks!

1900

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

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

1885

Maria Malibran, Giulia Grisi, Adelina Patti

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

Learn More About Divas

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