Four Saints in Three Acts by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson was a major avant-garde phenomenon of the 1930s, an experimental opera that nonetheless achieved remarkable popular success.
Photography was a key element of that success, but its complex roles in the construction, representation and dissemination of the opera have hitherto received little critical attention.
The photographic recording of the all-African American cast in particular affords a unique insight into the complexities of Four Saints in relation to the Harlem Renaissance and the New York avant-gardes of the time. This book, published in collaboration with The Photographers' Gallery, London, presents a wide selection of photographs of the cast, performances, and other material - many images reproduced for the first time - alongside essays by an international range of scholars exploring different aspects of the opera, including dance, fashion, music, and avant-garde writing, as well as photography. -- .