Alexander Adducci: Historical Scenic Design

Artstor has partnered with Alexander F. Adducci to publish approximately 2,800 images of scenic design from American operatic theaters in the Digital Library.

Adducci, former chair of the School of Theatre and Dance at Northern Illinois University,was instrumental in bringing an extensive collection of scenery and archival materials from the Lyric Opera of Chicago to Northern Illinois University. Now housed in the Arts Annex of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Historic Scenic Collection is one of the largest in the world. Adducci serves as the curator of this collection, which includes elements from almost 90 opera settings, with hundreds of backdrops and borders, and thousands of framed scenic units, as well as maquettes. It comprises virtually the entire repertoire of operas produced by Oscar Hammerstein's Manhattan Opera Company, and also documents the development of opera theater in Chicago, with examples of theatrical scenery from the Chicago Civic Opera Company, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Grand Opera Company, and the Chicago Opera Association. With an excess of 5 million square feet of painted surfaces, the Historic Scenic Collection preserves examples from 1889–1932, considered to be the "golden age" of scene painting. Designed and painted by noted American and European scenic artists, the sets reflect the influence of contemporary styles such as realism, romanticism, impressionism, modernism, and Art Nouveau. There are examples of numerous painting techniques (marbling, wood graining, foliage, mosaics, atmospheric effects, etc.).