Divide Light: Operatic Performance Costumes of Lesley Dill

  • Exhibition Dates: February 6 – April 13, 2014
  • Reception: Thursday, March 6 at 5-7pm
  • Screening of Divide Light begins at 5:30pm in Starr Theater

In this apex of her performative work, Lesley Dill's opera Divide Light is based on the complete works of poet Emily Dickinson. Lesley conceived of this opera, was the artistic director and collaborated with composer Richard Marriott. Divide Light follows a dramatic and emotional contour, exploring a range of emotions from vulnerability and fear to ecstasy, joy and exhilaration.

Divide Light premiered August 13, 2008 at the Montalvo Arts Center in San Jose, CA and featured performances by Del String Quartet; the 45-voices of The Choral Project; Jennifer Goltz, soprano; Kathleen Moss, mezzo soprano; and Andrew Eisenmann, baritone. The performers sing Dickinson's words and also wear Dill's ravishing costumes with the words scrawled across them. The set is a continuously moving video installation of poems and Dill's evocative black-and-white photographs.

Film of the opera was made by Ed Robbins. Divide Light was commissioned by Montalvo Arts Center, and supported in part by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation Multi Arts Production Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This is the first time the operatic performance costumes have been exhibited. Walton Arts Center and the University of Arkansas are pleased to present these to the public and community-at-large.


Support is provided by the McIlroy Family Visiting Professorship in Performing and Visual Arts.

Photo Credit: Divide Light performance premiere, Montalvo Arts Center, San Jose, Ca.  August 2008 Courtesy Lesley Dill Studio

Dress forms for this exhibition were provided by the generosity of the ShopCompany at www.theshopcompany.com.