Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Historic “Queen of the Night” Costume at The Sembrich

Sembrich-Queen-244x300It is the balance of arts and nature that draws my family to the Adirondacks. We have always been the type of people that have hiked a High Peak and then gone to a play at one on the area’s professional theatres or musical venues. Whether past of present, the Adirondacks continue to be a source of inspiration to a variety of performers as well as patrons of the arts.

For anyone interested in history and opera, the original The Magic Flute costume display at The Sembrich, Bolton Landing is worth a visit. According to Executive Director Beth Barton Navitsky the opportunity to see Marcella Sembrich’s original Queen of the Night costume from the 1900 Metropolitan Opera’s premiere of Mozart’s The Magic Flute will be ending September 15, 2015.

“This piece is very elaborate and delicate,” says Navitsky. “During that time many people made duplicate costumes, but this is the original one. We don’t display our costumes for long periods of time because the lighting and humidity deteriorates the materials.”

Navitsky doesn’t know when or if this silk georgette and sequin gown will be on display again. One of The Sembrich Museum’s goals is to create a climate control area so that more of the costumes and other collections can be made available to the public.

“It is a delicate process,” says Navitsky. “We want to preserve our collection without destroying the historical significance of the building. We take great care to keep the ground pristine ”

The property is treated with the same reverence as the museum’s priceless collection. Navitsky explains that Sembrich’s original property was 14-acres, but the museum is located on a four-acre parcel that includes a wooded peninsula that originally held Sembrich’s teaching studio, The Sembrich opened in 1937, two years after Mme. Sembrich’s death and has been in continuous operation every summer. The museum is open between June 15 and September 15 and only closed for special performances.

“We have taken great care that the property is as well preserved as the rest of the collection,” says Navitsky. “Currently Hydrangea Bay is in full bloom. There are beautiful paths along the shoreline and we are diligent that there are no invasive plants. The property, the museum and the live performances provide a unique experience. Each year we change a few of the museum’s exhibits so it is always fresh. The grounds are breathtaking and the performance venue is world class.”

The “Queen of the Night” costume will go back into climate control storage after September 15. There is also one special performance, The Sembrich Gala “Visions of Vienna,” that takes place September 5 at 6:30 pm with a lakeside reception, select delicacies, Austrian wines with music by harpist Lydian Zotto and Viennese waltzes by the Hyperion String Quartet. Enjoy!

“Queen of the Night” costume photo provided by The Sembrich, Bolton Landing, NY.

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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

One Response

  1. william Deuel,Jr says:


    Thank you for shedding some light on the Sembrich. My fiance and I were just married at the Sembrich and we could not ask for a more special place. Wonderful views from the lake and a staff that are could not have been more helpful.

    The” Queen of the Night” is spectacular as is the whole exhibit . Just a great place to visit and support .

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