About DIVA Museum
“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.
To all who taught me to love opera and art.
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 A Diva's Dozen and A Dazzle of Divas, 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.
Kathleen McDermott, 2015
We caught the eye
of Met Opera
at Don Pasquale,
So fun becoming part
of the stylish NYC world!
Renée Fleming receives a set of my diva cards
from our favorite diva-in-training
at a Florida State master class!