New Book Preserves Life of the Ringling Museum’s Historic Asolo Theater
SARASOTA, Fla. – Sept. 15, 2006 –The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art releases the comprehensive story of its 18th-century Historic Asolo Theater with its new release, “Encore! A New Life for the Historic Asolo Theater.”
The 66-page paperback brings together a collection of essays to track the theater’s history from its 1798 birth in Asolo, Italy to its 2006 rebirth in the Ringling Museum’s new Visitors Pavilion.
“This book tells the story of one of the most beloved stages,” said Executive Director Dr. John Wetenhall. “For those in the community who love the Historic AsoloTheater, they will enjoy how this book captures the theater’s spirit and importance of this jewel-box theater. And for those who are experiencing the theater for the first time, the book will serve as a beautiful memento of that first encounter.”
The theater is made up of decorative panels that were built in Italy to honor the exiled Queen of Cyprus, CaterinaCornaro, who held court in Asolofrom 1489 to 1509. The panels feature a portrait of the Queen, profiles of eight influential Italian authors and poets, and extravagant ornamentation.
The first essay of the book, “The AsoloTheater”, by Dr. Creighton Gilbert, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University identifies each of the characters featured on the panels and provides background on their meaning and significance. Dr. Gilbert’s essay tells the story of the theater’s life in Asolo.
The theater’s journey to Sarasota, Fla. is brought to life in the essay, “Priceless and Incomparable, Chick Austin and the AsoloTheater” by Dr. Eugene R. Gaddis.
Ringling Museum Curator of Theater Programming, Dwight Currie’s essay, “John Ringling Would Have Loved This” provides even greater insight into the theater’s significant impact on Sarasota’s culture.
The book continues with additional chapters: “AsolandoMeans To Air In TheSunshine: The Conservation and Restoration of the Historic AsoloTheater” by Ringling Museum Chief Conservator Michelle Scaleraand Ringling Museum Associate Director of Collections Tess Koncick; and “Encore! The Art of the Historic AsoloTheater,” by Ringling Museum Registrar and former Assistant Curator, Francoise Hack-Lof.
The new publication, edited by Currie and Ringling Museum Head Librarian Linda R. McKee, is released just as the Ringling Museum prepares to open the theater season with an event that honors a celebrated tradition of grand operatic openings.
The theater’s Opening Night Gala, scheduled for Oct. 6, 2006 features performances by three leading talents in the world of opera including Metropolitan Opera star, Susan Graham, renowned composer Jake Heggieand lyric soprano Kristin Clayton.
Encore! A New Life for the Historic AsoloTheateris available for $14.95 at the Ringling Museum Store located in the Visitors Pavilion at the Museum’s main entrance. The Ringling Museum Stores are open 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily. Museum members receive a 10 percent discount on all Museum Store purchases. Call 941.359.5700 or visit www.ringling.orgfor additional information.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, in its affiliation with Florida State University, is the largest museum/university complex in the nation. It preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling, educating and enabling a large and diverse audience to experience and take delight in a world-renowned collection of fine art; Càd’Zan, the Ringling historic mansion; the Circus Museum; the Original AsoloTheater; and historic architecture, courtyard, gardens and grounds overlooking Sarasota Bay.