The Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington will display DIVA, an exhibition celebrating the diva from 19th century opera singers to modern-day pop stars.

DIVA will celebrate the power and creativity of iconic artists, exploring and redefining the role of ‘diva’ and how it has been embraced over time in opera, stage, popular music and film.

Photograph of Maria Callas in Verdi’s opera La Traviata at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 1958, England. Photo: Houston Rogers © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The exhibition will bring together some of the most recognizable and important costumes that were worn by the most renowned artists.

The word diva means goddess in Latin; it was initially used to give praise to opera singers in Victorian times; however, it is currently used more for criticism.

Elton John’s 50th birthday look with wig and boat hat, designed by Sandy Powell, 1997. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Through DIVA, the Victoria and Albert Museum seeks to recover the term and extend its definition to all genres.

“Today, the word diva has a wide variety of meanings,” said Kate Bailey, curator of DIVA, to Lonely Planet. “At the heart of this exhibition is a story of iconic artists who with creativity, courage and ambition have challenged the status quo and used their voice and art to redefine and reclaim the diva.”

Photo negative, Billie Holiday in her only London appearance at the Albert Hall. Jack Parnell’s band accompanying her, photographed by Harry Hammond, England, 1954. Photograph: Harry Hammond © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The exhibition will be made up of more than 250 works, including 60 outfits worn by icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Elton John, Cher, Barbra Streisand, RuPaul and Rihanna.

DIVA can be visited from June 24, 2023 to April 7, 2024, within museum hours, which are every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The cost of the entrance is 20 pounds, it includes an audio guide; It is important that you book your visit in advance on the official website of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Portrait of Adelina Patti, by Franz Winterhalter, around 1865-1870. Reproduced courtesy of the Harewood House Trust


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