February 7

RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”
Sketches of Opera Characters in The Baton

The Baton (1922-32) was published by the Institute of Musical Art in New York City. In 1924, the Juilliard Graduate School opened, with its facilities directly adjacent to the Institute. By 1926 the two music schools merged although both continued to maintain their own administrations until 1946, when they officially unified as the Juilliard School of Music.

A charming feature of The Baton from 1923 to 1928 is a number of drawings by pianist, writer, and artist Leslie Fairchild. Particularly interested in depicting circus life, Fairchild’s sketches were displayed in several locations including the Ringling Museum of the American Circus in Sarasota, FL, the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI, and the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT. As a piano student, Fairchild incorporated musical symbols into a style of simple lines and shapes, adding a touch of whimsy to the journal’s written material. In 1928, he combined his drawing skills and musical training to write a children’s piano method book entitled, A Jolly Trip to Music Land  (Chicago: Forster Music Publisher Inc., 1928). 

This week, we present seven of Fairchild’s delightful little drawings of well-known opera characters published in The Baton.

Canio, from Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci
Vol. 3 No. 1 (October 1923): 13.


Cio-Cio-san, from Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
Vol. 3 No. 2 (November 1923): 13.


Wotan, from Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen
Vol. 3 No. 4 (January 1924): 13.


Carmen, from Georges Bizet’s opera of the same title
Vol. 3 No. 5 (February 1924): 7.


Romeo and Juliet, from Charles Gounod’s opera of the same title
Vol. 3 No. 7 (April 1924): 11.


The Chief of Police, Baron Scarpia, and his men (below) from Puccini’s Tosca
Vol. 3 No. 8 (May 1924): 12-13.



RIPM search tip: To view more of Leslie Fairchild’s drawings, access RIPM’s Retrospective Index and Online Archive, and fill in the following fields: Keyword = Leslie Fairchild; Periodical = The Baton [1922-1932]; Type = Illustration.  For more information on The Baton, click here!

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RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

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Posted February 7, 2018 by Ben Knysak in category "Illustration(s) of the Week