— Gail Vida Hamburg, Writer-Producer
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA, January 2, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — Music’s Modern Muse: A Life of Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac (BOYE6, 2009) by Sylvia Kahan, Professor of Music at City University of New York, has been optioned for TV series and film development by writer, producer, Gail Vida Hamburg’s Rainworks Omnimedia in Southern California.
Hamburg—whose prior award-recognized scripts, Rehab Riviera, a healthcare series about addiction and recovery, and Heart Meridian, a Neo-Western about Vaqueros/America’s first cowboys, are on their way into production—discovered Kahan’s book while seeking inspiration for period dramas. Daughter of American industrialist, Isaac Merritt Singer, developer of the eponymous sewing machine, and French-born Isabelle Eugenie Boyer, Winnaretta became a millionaire in 1886 at the age of 21. In 1893, she married Prince Edmond de Polignac, a gay composer from one of France’s oldest families, and became Princesse de Polignac.
“Winnaretta was one of the most famous American women in Europe of that era. As a ‘dollar princess’, she invested her considerable wealth in the arts and letters,” Hamburg said. “Her Paris salon was a magnet and an oasis for composers, writers, and artists of the day. Her rarefied circle included Proust, Cocteau, Picasso, Debussy, Ravel, Diaghilev, and Virginia Woolf. She was also a talented painter whose early canvasses were exhibited in the Salon des Beaux-Arts and whose later works were sometimes mistaken for those of Manet. She was equally passionate about social issues, creating some of Paris’s first public housing, joining forces with Marie Curie during World War I to turn limousines into mobile hospitals, and partnering with the Salvation Army to establish half a dozen homeless shelters, some designed by Le Corbusier. Another fascinating aspect of her life was her lavender marriage to a homosexual prince and her affairs with women artists,” said Hamburg.
According to Singer’s biographer, Sylvia Kahan, “Winnaretta had a sixth sense about the nascent talents of musicians, both composers and performers. The nearly two dozen works that she commissioned – by Fauré, Falla, Stravinsky, Poulenc, Weill, and Satie, among others – are considered to be masterworks of twentieth-century musical modernism. Winnaretta also took a special interest in promoting creative women, committing her fortune and her international network of contacts to launching the careers of Nadia Boulanger, Ethel Smyth, Germaine Tailleferre, and pianist Clara Haskil, as well as writers Anna de Noailles and Colette.”
For her passion, patronage, and contribution to French arts and letters, Singer became known as “La Grande Mécène,”—the Great Patron of Modern Music. Her legacy lives on through the Fondation Singer-Polignac in France which organizes concerts and symposia in Paris and subsidizes scholarly work in the arts, sciences, and letters.
“There have been a succession of fictionalized dramas set in Regency and Edwardian England. This period drama ventures into new territory—across the English Channel to Belle-Époque Paris, to narrate the life of a consequential American who left a monumental legacy to France and to the arts,” Hamburg said. Her envisioned dream collaborators for the joint English-French production include Francophones Jodie Foster, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Stone, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Kahan is thrilled that Singer’s biography will be portrayed in television and film. “January 8, 2024 marks the 159th year of Winnaretta’s birth. It is fitting that her storied life will find a larger audience now,” said the biographer. “She is a splendid role model, especially for young women, who seek to make a difference and leave a lasting mark on society through passionate advocacy.”