Drawing the Curtain
Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet
This book showcases a lesser-known aspect of Maurice Sendak’s oeuvre–his set designs for opera and ballets.
Maurice Sendak is well-known for his acclaimed children’s books, but he was also an avid opera lover and designed a number of sets for opera and ballet productions, among them Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Janáˇcek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, and an opera by Oliver Knussen based on Where the Wild Things Are. This book brings together over one hundred and twentyfive pieces from among the more than nine hundred in the Morgan Library & Museum’s collection, including preliminary sketches, final watercolors, and cardboard models. Essays in the book discuss the importance of music to Sendak’s work, his fascination with comic strips, movies, mechanical toys, and pop-up books, and the artworks that inspired his stage designs. The book reveals the full breadth of Sendak’s visual work for opera and ballet and highlights his keen sense of humor, his love of art history, and his ability to tell striking stories through his art.
LIAM DOONA is Head of the Department of Design and Visual Arts at Ireland’s Institute of Art, Design + Technology.
RACHEL FEDERMAN is Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings at the Morgan Library & Museum.
AVI STEINBERG is a culture writer and humorist who has written about and interviewed Maurice Sendak.
CHRISTOPHER MATTALIANO is General Director of the Portland Opera and a former collaborator of Maurice Sendak.