(Above: Richard Avedon & Sophia Loren)
Opera Chic's admiration for the late Richard Avedon was already immense; after flipping through the 304 pages of his latest posthumous book, "Performance", OC misses him even more (there are also some essays about his work with artists, by Twyla Tharp and Mitsuko Uchida, Mike Nichols and André Gregory and the New Yorker's John Lahr).
Many images have never been seen before -- and how nice to dive into the black and white portraits of Hepburn and Chaplin, Monroe and Garland, Brando and Sinatra.
An unabashed lover of the performing arts and especially a theater nut -- O'Neill and Strindberg among his faves, and he flew several times to Sweden to catch plays directed by Ingmar Bergman -- Avedon nails shot after shot -- of himself armed with a big clunky Rolleiflex trying to spy on Sophia Loren's twisting her long hair; Mattila clutching that rubber head, a Halloween trick or treating at opera fans doors; Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's smile, a sly delighted smile creeping through the nobility of her face, like a Duccio da Boninsegna hippie gal; the proud unibrow of Luchino Visconti, looking like a lion in pinstripes, and you can even smell the Hammam Bouquet eau de toilette he's so close -- a dandy Abe Vigoda ready to fight Callas, stare her down, this is a gentleman who won't be afraid of Medea, what are your chances, dear?
Then an anatomical study of Nureyev's back, of Stravinsky's scowl. Horowitz giggling like a little boy. And so many more. Lenny, making music out of thin air in Avedon's Upper East Side's studio.
But maybe Opera Chic's favorite in the entire book is Marian Anderson, her famous portrait, eyes shut tight, singing, her hair flying magically through the power of her voice -- just lean closer to the page, and you'll hear her sing just for you, thanks to Mr. Avedon's cabinet of photographic wonders.
(Above: Karita Mattila as Salome)
(Above: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson)
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