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Opera and the other arts: Why Cavelleria Rusticana & Pagliacci hit the spot

After Bel Canto Lecture Series with Maestro Lewis Gaston

Venue: Caversham Room at Cadogan Hall


Sophie Pullen
Natalie Burch

In this lecture we look at two of the most successful operas of all time, and why they hit the right note. Using painting, poetry and literature from the 19th century, it’s clear opera reflects many of the movements that are going on elsewhere in the arts. As an art form though, does this famous operatic pairing really reflect the same naturalist/realist tendencies that the other genres were striving for?

Part of Opera Prelude 2015-16 Lecture Season

Masterclass by Rosalind Plowright

Masterclass led by Rosalind Plowright, OBE with Opera Prelude’s young singers: Callie Swarbrick (soprano), Becca Marriott (soprano) and Alberto Sousa (tenor).

Puccini: His Life and Cinematic Legacy

Puccini never composed for film, but his music was co-opted by film directors on a regular basis; he even filed a law suit or two to stop them! However we know he had a long-lasting correspondence...

Entartete Musik – Fascism, Communism and Opera in the 20th Century

Following Ricardo's previous lecture on 'Trouble at the Opera' which looked at censorship on the development of opera up to the 19th century, this morning we will travel to Germany, Russia, Italy and...

Hansel and Gretel: an Opera Bewitched by Music

Conductor Mark Austin explores Humperdinck's masterpiece Hansel and Gretel and its rich, enchanting score. He will work with mezzo-soprano Anna Harvey and soprano Callie Swarbrick to rehearse and...

A Class Act: the Vocal Status, Style and Substance of Mozart's Women

From Pergolesi to Puccini, but with particular reference to Mozart’s famous Da Ponte operas, Becca will examine how composers create the feisty working woman's voice; in contrast to her sedate and...

L’elisir d’amore: Love and Sorrow Ignited

L'elisir d'amore is one of the most frequently performed of all Donizetti’s operas and considered a masterpiece of 19th century opera buffa. Combining a touching love story with melodic...

Staging Opera in the Modern Age: the Dilemmas Faced by Conductors, Directors and Performers

When producing operas decades, often centuries after they were written, there are a seemingly endless number of conceptual, musical and directorial decisions that the creative team and cast need to...

Staged Oratorio: Is it Opera? Exploring Staging Handel's Messiah

Paola Cuffolo and Anna Harvey introduce the history of staging sacred oratorio, from its beginnings in 17th-century Venice to the recent trend for staged Handel oratorios, Bach Passions and Messiahs,...

The Opera Prelude Song Prize Masterclass with Della Jones

Now in its third year, The Opera Prelude Song Prize offers one of our young singers the unique chance of private masterclasses with Della Jones, one of Great Britain’s leading mezzo-sopranos. We...

Shakespeare in Love

Shakespeare has long been a prolific quarry for the writers of opera librettos and Romeo and Juliet is no exception. There are about two dozen written on the great love story, the most famous being...

Reputation, reputation, reputation! - An examination of the two Italian Othellos

Verdi's Otello has gone down in the operatic canon as the epitome of his late style, a masterpiece that encapsulates the essence of not only Shakespeare's Moor, but Desdemona and Iago too. His...

The English Approach to Shakespeare

This morning’s lecture recital will consider how two of England’s most famous composers, Henry Purcell (1659–1695) and Benjamin Britten (1913–1976), have set England’s most famous...

Yet, here's a spot - Macbeth through the eyes of Verdi

This lecture will explore how Verdi adapted Shakespeare's tale of ruthless ambition to one of the greatest operas of all time. We'll see how despite being an early opera in the composer's career, it...

The Thrill of the Countertenor Voice - Breaking Expectations

Since Alfred Deller shocked and delighted audiences, countertenors have grown hugely in popularity, and are now in increasing demand in opera houses across the world. The resurgence of Baroque opera,...

Masterclass with Dame Anne Evans

Dame Anne Evans kindly leads this morning’s event with three emerging young singers, two of whom are International Opera Awards Bursary winners. Since their inauguration in 2012, the...

Verdi: Why Rigoletto had to be ugly

This lecture looks at how Verdi transforms the seemingly eternal world of bel canto and Rossini into an art form that puts the text of the opera on an equal footing to the music. Verdi paid more...

Puccini & Deception: Tosca and the machine behind the man

Tosca is in the repertory of every major opera house in the world but like all of Puccini’s compositions, it got off to a very shaky start. This lecture looks at the hidden propaganda machine that...

The End of Italian Opera: Puccini’s Turandot and post-Verismo Opera

As the final lecture in the After Bel Canto Lecture Series, we look at how both Germany and Italy reflected on each other’s musical culture. Often seen as a cut and dry argument of Wagner’s...

The mezzo-soprano as prima donna

Throughout the history of opera the leading lady has mesmerized audiences through the intense characters they were projecting on stage as well as off stage. We are accustomed for the prima donna to...

'Faustian pact': an introduction to the Faust legend and its music

Conductor Mark Austin presents a lively and accessible introduction to the legend of Faust and the music it has inspired. Composers have been inspired by the figure of Faust since the 19th century,...

Scenes of Summer: Lily, Lily, Rose

An end of term talk and recital celebration with a glass of wine! The celebrated American painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was also an accomplished musician and would often interrupt his...

Concert Duration:
approx. 2 hours

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