Diamanda Galas, Masque of the Red Death
The Masque of the Red Death


Pamphlet from the first performance at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York City

8.5 x 5.5 inches


Diamanda Galás first received recognition for her operatic trilogy, “The Masque of the Red Death,” in which she documented the unfolding medical crisis within the gay community. Her brother, playwright Philip-Dimitri Galás, became sick with the disease while she was still working on the piece, eventually dying from AIDS-related complications in 1986 just prior to the work’s final edit.

Galás was involved in first wave AIDS activism during the early 1980s while residing in San Francisco. After relocating to NYC, Galás joined ACT UP, participating in the group’s controversial “Stop the Church” demonstration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on December 10, 1989. On October 12 and 13, 1990, Galás performed her masterwork, “The Masque of the Red Death,” at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in the Manhattan neighborhood of Morningside Heights, the performance of which was later released as “Plague Mass.” Also in 1990, Galás appeared in Rosa von Praunhein’s AIDS documentary, “Positive,” about the NYC downtown queer community’s response to AIDS, which also featured artist and activist David Wojnarowicz.


Work by Diamanda Galás