This post is the first of a series devoted to the photographs of Robert Cahen. Not only has Mr Cahen photographed virtually every important opera singer of the past 60 years, he has been a close friend to many of them. The series starts with singers now active, but will later include artists whose careers flourished as far back as the middle of the last century.

Robert Cahen’s interest in theatrical photography began in 1959 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He was the first to try the new fast speed color film that allowed the use of available light as the only illumination source. Ever since that time he has captured many of the world’s greatest operatic performances on film. More than 2,000 productions as well as stage portraits of the most legendary singers of our time.

Photographing the San Francisco Opera has been his artistic home since 1962. He has also been guest photographer at the Metropolitan, Houston Grand, Los Angeles Music Center, San Diego, Washington-Kennedy Center, New York City Opera – and Chicago’s Lyric where it all began. In addition, there have been International experiences at London’s Covent Garden, La Scala, Verona, Florence and the Vienna Staatsoper.

Mr. Cahen’s photographs have appeared in Fortune, Newsweek, the Italian Oggi and Carnet magazines, the German Merian, French periodicals as well as numerous opera journals. He has been a contributor to the books of Marilyn Horne, Beverly Sills,
Dame Joan Sutherland, – and all “3 Tenors”. His pictures may be found on more than seventy record albums and video box tops. And he has the distinction of doing two book jacket cover portraits for Luciano Pavarotti and three for Placido Domingo.

In 1988, Mr. Cahen displayed numerous examples of his career photography in a one-man show that was held on the mezzanine of the War Memorial Opera House. This included a large collection of scenes and stage portraits, as well as published work such as album covers, book jackets, and calendars. He followed this with another show during the following year, and contributed to exhibits during the Strauss Festival. A colllection of twenty-three images were on display during the 1996 opera season which were found on the second level of the Civic Auditorium. And the following year his permanent Gallery was installed with 56 stage portraits that commenced with his initial year of 1962. During the years, since then, the Galllery has been increased to include some 90 enlargements where it stands today.

Renée Fleming as Lucrezia Borgia 2008

Renée Fleming as Lucrezia Borgia 2008


Natalie Dessay as Lucia Di Lammermoor 2008

Susan Graham as Handel's Xerxes 2011

Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Simon Boccanegra 2008

Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the Count in Verdi's Il Trovatore 2009

Anna Netrebko as Manon 2006

The photographs in this and succeeding post were provided to me by Mr Cahen and are used with his permission. More to follow.

Featured Photo: HOFFMAN