Deborah Weisgall

Deborah Weisgall has written about music, visual arts, and architecture for many publications, including The New York Times, The AtlanticThe New Yorker, Esquire, and The Wall Street Journal. She has also written a memoir, A Joyful Noise (Grove/Atlantic), about her father and grandfather and their music, and two novels, including The World Before Her (Houghton Mifflin). Follow her on twitter @deborahweisgall

Recent Articles

Loving the Opera in HD

Once controversial, Metropolitan Opera broadcasts for movie-theater audiences have become a gateway for new (and returning) fans.

On a Saturday afternoon last December, I picked up my ticket for the Metropolitan Opera’s Falstaff and hurried down the backstage corridors to a trailer behind Lincoln Center. The crew of Live in HD, the Met’s popular series of broadcasts to movie theaters, was crowded into the truck before an array of monitors. On the main monitor, the soprano Renée Fleming, in a bronzy, shimmering dress, stood in the wings rehearsing her intro.

New Treasure in Maine

The Colby College Museum of Art reopens, ready to share its $100 million gift and quietly bold vision.  

Trent Bell Photography / The Lewitt Estate / Artists Rights Society

Colby College perches on Mayflower Hill at the western edge of Waterville, a tired post-industrial city in central Maine. Brick classrooms and dorms, mostly nostalgic, neo-Georgian architecture, are ranged around curving roads. Relatively new, the campus still feels like a work in progress. Colby is the northern-most school in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, a kind of scaled-down Ivy League. In contrast to Waterville, it is booming. It is increasingly selective but remains resolutely unpretentious, its mascot a white mule. In January the college can feel as isolated as the Arctic. It is an unlikely place to find an important museum, and few people know that Colby has one.

The Mother of All Girls' Books

The secret subversiveness of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women

Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,’ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.” This is how Louisa May Alcott begins Little Women. She wrote it in 1868, when she was 35, after months of urging by Thomas Niles, a Boston publisher who wanted a story for girls. She had not had much luck with a serious novel, she needed money, and it was part of a deal that her father, Bronson Alcott, had proposed. If Louisa said yes, Niles would agree to publish Bronson’s philosophical treatise, Tablets. A dutiful daughter, she couldn’t say no.