Scope and Contents
The collection includes research files, posters and awards, and audio/visual materials related to the production of mainly Houston, TX based performing arts documentaries. Among the many productions represented are Danton’s Death, The Making of a Monologue: Robert Wilson’s HAMLET, Visions of Robert Wilson, Houston Grand Opera productions of Carmen, Florencia en el Amazonas, Four Saints in Three ActsMadame Butterfly, The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, Marriage of Figaro, Nabucco, Pagliacci, Prince Igor, Showboat, Treemonisha, Willie Stark, Houston Symphony Orchestra’s West Meets East, KUHT “Arts Alive!” productions of Ages of Song: Elena Nikolaidi, Albee/Lorca: Duende!, Alley Theater-World Class in Houston, Bodily Imagination, DaCamera Mozart Festival, Enter Eschenbach, Alfred Hitchcock project, Imagine! Children; the Arts, Jose Quintero: Directions in Drama, productions on kids’ art, Li Cunxin, Main Street Theater, Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time, Mozart Mosaic, Music Maestra, Please!, Setting the Stage, Milt Hinton documentary. Actors, directors, dancers, musicians and conductors, including Vanessa Redgrave, Milt Hinton, Jose Quintero and Robert Wilson are also featured in this material. Kessel’s Texas Chamber Orchestra business files are also included.
Project files and audio/visual materials are the two series of this collection. Among the project files for various production videos, which are further subdivided into the named productions, are scripts, interviews, financial records and publicity. The bulk of the collection is audio/visual material, which encompasses 21 boxes, and corresponds directly with the videos produced.
Marion Kessel’s varied career in producing performing arts documentaries is rooted in her early training at the University of Cape Town School of Music with concentration in piano and percussion. She subsequently had experience in orchestral performance, opera stage-managing, performing arts administration, and teaching experience. Her positions have included General Manager of the Texas Chamber Orchestra; Media Coordinator for Houston Grand Opera, and assistantships for Houston Grand Opera and Houston Symphony Orchestra. Her business acumen has lead to consulting with Chrysalis Repertory Arts Co., Delia Stewart Dance Co., and Cultural Arts Council of Houston, while her background in arts community service and television and stage work has earned her international recognition, including a regional Emmy award and awards from the International Film and Video Festival (WorldFest Houston).
Production highlights include: Hitting the High Cs (1999), profiling Houston Grand Opera’s artistic, educational, and community-related accomplishments; Directing plazacasts for Houston Grand Opera’s (HGO) Hansel; Gretel (1997), The Marriage of Figaro (1998), Mefistofele (1999), Nabucco (2000); Video director for HGO’s multi-media-modular-stage version of Carmen (1998); Video reflections of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time by Christoph Eschenbach and the Houston Symphony Chamber Players (2000); Writer and producer for The Making of a Monologue: Robert Wilson’s HAMLET (1995); Writer and producer for Arts Alive! for Houston Public Television (1988-93).
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Kessel came to the United States in the late 1960s. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.