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Photo Credit :: Gertrude Stein
Arts & Entertainment
Cubist Lesbian Love Story:
Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas
Apr 4 2011 
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Apart from Ellen and Portia (or Oprah and Gale...), probably the most famous lesbian couple of modern history was Gertrude Stein and her lifetime companion Alice B. Toklas. It was in the Parisian salon of Stein and Toklas that modernism was born, thanks to the modern art gallery that Stein installed in their home. Paintings by Picasso, Gauguin, Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, and Toulouse-Lautrec were in constant circulation on the walls of 27, rue de Fleurus.

Imagining those walls today, the mind reels. And it's fascinating to imagine Stein in that apartment surrounded by so many modern art masterpieces, writing the libretto for her lesbian opera, A Lyrical Opera Made By Two, which depicts her relationship with Toklas.

Written in 1928 by Stein, A Lyrical Opera Made By Two was scored by William Turner, and directed by Charles Gilbert, for the International Festival of Musical Theater in Cardiff, Wales in 2005.

Head of the Musical Theater Program at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, Gilbert is also a composer, director, and writer - and from April 13 through 17, Gilbert's production of A Lyrical Opera Made By Two will be presented at Caplan Studio on South Broad Street in Philadelphia as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.

Performances are from the 13th through the 17th of April at 8 pm (with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm). As Stein once said, "America is my country, but Paris is my hometown" - or in this case, Philadelphia.


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Eighth in a series of features about the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), continuing through May 1 with the support of PIFA.

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