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About DIVA Museum How Opera Divas Changed The World!

Learn About Divas!

“The heavens listened as she sang that captivating song, the eternal echo of which resounds in my heart!” "Tales of Hoffmann," Act 1, Scene 6.

I glory in tales of women who, through beauty or talent, jump lower-class origins and burst as queens upon the glamorous grand world.

No historical company of women did so more powerfully than the great opera divas of the past.

Their rich visual and print legacy inspired my collage-based artworks and led me to tell their stories.

In DIVA Museum, I present twenty-six opera stars through whose voices two centuries of colorful cultural history unfold.

DIVA Museum celebrates their images and brings their life stories into wider circulation.

Twenty-six sirens of song summon us across two centuries; join me in experiencing their beguiling magic.

How Divas Changed the World!

How did a company of women, trained only within their singing families, rise from nowhere to reign internationally as “Queens of Song”—inspiring great composers, commanding vast audiences and fees, and changing the course of history?

From 1700 to 1920, “Queens of Song” were as well-known in the Western World as royal queens.

Yet the great opera divas rose from obscurity and humble backgrounds.

They seized opportunities offered by Music and Art to make charismatic careers of extraordinary triumph.

More than women who inherited or married monarchy, great opera divas rose through their own merit, wit, and ambition to stand in the vanguard of history—brilliant beacons of women’s achievement in a world systematically stacked against them.

Their unparalleled prominence made them symbols and groundbreakers in Western women’s efforts to achieve careers, own property, and vote.

Their cultural mission accomplished, these bold goddesses passed into eternity.

The heavens did listen as the divas sang their captivating songs.

Music history and women’s history are immeasurably richer for their triumphant lives.

DIVA Museum is dedicated to all who taught me to love opera and art.

You'll find lots more at DIVA Museum!

15 of my 26 Diva Museum divas in order of appearance above: Henriette Sontag, Maria Malibran, Angelica Catalani, Olive Fremstad, Sissieretta Jones, Adelina Patti, Geraldine Farrar, Giulia Grisi, Isabella Colbran, Lillian Nordica, Marie Selika, Zhemchugova, Nellie Melba, Lina Cavalieri, Emma Calvé.

Actual diva photos and paintings public domain. My text and collage images published by DIVA Museum in 2014 in A Diva Story-Book: 26 Singers Who Surmounted All Barriers; Their Genius Made The Immortal. All content republished digitally here in 2018. ©Author and artist Kathleen McDermott, DIVA Museum.

More About Divas!

Video: My artist process and how I got started with Divas!

Video: Divas Made Cultural Change!

Video: See what Divas were up against!

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