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The Path to Paradise: Judith

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The Cold Genius

2009
30 x 43 in. (76.2 x 109.2 cm)

Judith Schaechter
American

Object Type: Glass
Medium and Support: Stained-glass panel
Credit Line: The Corning Museum of Glass, Gift of the Ennion Society
Accession Number: EX2020.DG1.4
Location: Currently on view
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Schaechter came across a YouTube video of Klaus Nomi performing the aria “The Cold Song” from Henry Purcell’s opera King Arthur. This video captures the last performance of a singer, known for his incredible voice and otherworldly stage presence, before dying of AIDS in 1983. As the character Cold Genius in the opera, Nomi sings:

What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow
See’st thou not (how stiff) and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I (can scarcely move or draw my breath)
Let me, let me freeze again to death.

Schaechter was so moved by Nomi’s story and interpretation that she was inspired to make this work. Her insistence upon resolving this panel to her satisfaction led her to remake it four times.

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