Download this event for iCal

Opera Prelude: Genius and Tragedy

"The lost and found letters of Giuseppe Verdi"

Venue: Caversham Room at Cadogan Hall

Repertoire

  • Dr Simon Maguire with Ricardo Panela (baritone) and Mari Wyn Williams (soprano) accompanied by Natalie Burch

Following the recent rediscovery of private letters between Giuseppe Verdi and Salvadore Cammarano, Dr Simon Maguire of Sotheby’s will begin this morning’s lecture with the thrilling tale of their preservation, saved for the nation by the Italian government whilst they were on the brink of vanishing into a private collection.

It is difficult to imagine a greater addition to Verdi Studies in recent years. These new letters, with particular reference to Alzira (1845), La battaglia di Legnano, Luisa Miller (both 1849), Rigoletto (1851) and Il trovatore (1853), chart Verdi’s progress from writer subservient to the opera-house and beholden to the librettist, to the master of the subject and in control of the text.

Rising young baritone, Ricardo Panela will then take over with an exploration of one of opera’s most fertile partnerships with particular focus the compositional process and vocal requirements to be a Verdian singer. Mari Wynn Williams will accompany him with sung excerpts.

Salvadore Cammarano was born into a family of artists in Naples and trained as a painter and sculptor before becoming one of the most celebrated librettists of his age. He is best remembered for his collaborations with Donizetti – most particularly for the libretto of Lucia di Lammermoor – and with Verdi, the towering genius of his generation. Their partnership came to an abrupt end, however, with Cammarano’s untimely death at the age of 51, whilst he was in the process of creating the libretto for Il trovatore, which would become a huge posthumous success. Verdi was bereft – “I simply can’t tell you how upset I am!”, he wrote to a mutual friend on hearing of his death – and the discovery of this trove of letters between the Italian composer and his favourite librettist, described by the auction house as a monumental discovery that radically alters our understanding of Verdi’s creative process.

Dr Simon Maguire joined Sotheby’s in 1990 and in his current role is in charge of preparing and cataloguing specialist sales in London for Music (composers’ autographs and letters, music manuscripts, first editions of Mozart, Beethoven and other great composers) and also for continental literary manuscripts and letters, particularly in German and Italian. Dr Maguire studied (and later taught) music at Oxford University and wrote a thesis on 19th-century Italian opera, which was published in New York and London in 1989. He is a world authority on this subject and has contributed numerous articles to the New Grove Dictionary of Opera. He specialises in the music of Verdi and Bellini.

Part of Opera Prelude Lecture Series 2017-18

“The versatile vocalist: from fireworks to fireside”

This morning’s lecture explores the process of preparing and performing widely different repertoire, from dazzling coloratura roles to dramatic characters, to the intimate setting of a song...

“Face to face with Beethoven”

Wagner was obsessed with Beethoven. He arranged the 'Choral' Symphony for piano, wrote a novella in which Beethoven anointed him his successor, and paid elaborate musical homage over his entire...

“Renoir’s La Loge – Art & Music of the Parisian Golden Age”

'La loge' by Renoir is one of the most famous works in The Courtauld’s collection and considered a masterpiece of the Impressionist movement. In today’s lecture recital, Dr de Mille will...

“The Pearl Fishers: Bizet and Orientalism”

A lecture on Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers' (1863), a work from relatively early in his career where he first uses many of the techniques that later became his hallmark. It was the first of his operas...

“Bizet’s Djamileh: The Unexpected Wagnerite”

A lecture on Bizet's 'Djamileh' (1870), with its Wagnerian harmony that is rarely associated with Bizet or French opera. Despite its shortcomings as a dramatic piece we will hear some of the most...

Masterclass with Susanna Stranders

A masterclass with the esteemed vocal coach Susanna Stranders, Head of Music at Garsington Opera. In a world of endless auditions, it is rare to receive any tangible feedback from those making the...

Masterclass with Dame Anne Evans

Dame Anne Evans will kindly lead this morning’s event with emerging young singers: Alice Privett (soprano) and three past and present International Opera Awards Foundation Bursary Winners, Ricardo...

“The Composer and his Muse: the great women behind great men”

The operatic canon overflows with male composers, and there is no shortage of female roles. Today’s lecture explores the relationships between some exceptional women and the composers who, inspired...

“Fiction’s Fallen Women: from page to stage – Violetta & Manon”

Prévost’s L'histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut made an outrageous appearance on the literary scene in 1731 detailing the exploits of the young, beautiful, and morally...

“From the Script to the Stage – Lights, Curtain, Action!”

Join us for a morning with Sarah Crabtree, Senior Producer for the Royal Opera, where she leads the producing team for the Linbury Theatre. Before joining the ROH, Sarah was one of the driving forces...

Masterclass with Della Jones

The Opera Prelude Song Prize Masterclass with Della Jones. Now in its fourth year, the Opera Prelude Song Prize offers one of our young singers the unique chance of private masterclasses with...

“A Sigh Becomes Song – Transforming Emotion”

Jenny Miller, singer, director and founder of Barefoot Opera, returns to Opera Prelude to demonstrate the close relationship between instinct, emotional responses, everyday communication and the art...

Masterclass and discussion with Dame Felicity Lott - ‘Il nous faut de l’amour’

Today’s masterclass and discussion celebrates the recent launch of Dame Felicity’s book 'Il nous faut de l’amour', with mezzo Phoebe Haines and accompanied by Maria Levandovskaya.

Masterclass with Stuart Skelton and Opera Prelude’s young singers

Stuart Skelton is one of the finest heldentenors on the stage today, critically acclaimed for his outstanding musicianship, tonal beauty, and intensely dramatic portrayals. His repertoire encompasses...

Masterclass with Renato Balsadonna and Opera Prelude’s young singers

Italian symphonic and operatic conductor, Renato Balsadonna has also held long term positions as Chorus Director at Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels and at the Royal Opera House Covent...

Opera Prelude Lecture Series: ‘Fame, Fortune, Mischief and Mayhem’

In this talk, Ed Ballard (baritone) explores the early history of opera in London. How did this continental invention first arrive? Who were the singers who performed it, where and for whom? Who was...

Opera Prelude Lecture Series: ‘Made in Iberia’

In this morning's lecture we will have a look at the operatic creation in Portugal and Spain through the ages. Starting one of Europe's superstar composers in the 18th century - Marcos Portugal - we...

‘Tenor Talks’ - Discussion and masterclass with Ben Johnson and Richard Dowling

Acclaimed tenor Ben Johnson represented England in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2013 and won the Audience Prize. A former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and 2008 winner of the Kathleen Ferrier...

Opera Prelude Lecture Series: ‘A Playlist for Jane Austen’

Not only is Jane Austen celebrated on the new £10 note in the bicentennial year of her death: her enduring appeal is further portrayed through words and music by soprano, Sophie Pullen, and...

Opera Prelude Lecture Series: ‘When Art Danced with Music - Ballet Russes, Diaghilev and his Circle’

Sergei Diaghilev was one of the most important impresarios of the 20th century. The central figure in the artistic world of St Petersburg, Paris, London, Rome, Berlin and Madrid, he formed close...

Discussion and masterclass with Rosalind Plowright and mezzo-soprano Anna Harvey

Rosalind Plowright is one of the most celebrated artists of our time. Her career spans more than 35 years. She was acclaimed as one of the world’s great spinto sopranos specialising in roles such...

Opera Prelude Lecture Series: ‘We Three Kings’

Taking three of Verdi’s relatively early works we delve into the musical handling of Verdi’s monarchs. In these three operas Verdi’s characters utilise disguise, deception and deceit to fulfil...

Opera Prelude: From Sensibility to Sense

Before beginning her current career as soprano and librettist, Becca Marriott read English at Oxford. In this lecture, she returns to her roots, using her extensive knowledge of both literature and...

Opera Prelude Singers’ Prize Masterclass with Della Jones

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

Opera Prelude: Don’t Look Back

Orpheus, the so-called father of song, has reached far from his classical roots to influence music and other art forms right up to the present day. His heady mixture of bravado, passion, charm and...

Opera Prelude: Masterclass and Discussion with Susan Bullock

Alex Otterburn (baritone) is one of Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists for the 2017/18 season and is described by them as a 'name to watch'. He has most recently played the role of Eddy in their...

Opera Prelude: Masterclass with Janis Kelly

Masterclass morning with Janis Kelly - heralded as a “singing actress of near genius” (Sunday Times). More details to follow.

Opera Prelude: Jack Furness of Shadwell Opera

Details to follow.

Opera Prelude: The Golden Age of the Imperial Theatres

In this morning’s lecture, Dr Rosamund Bartlett and pianist Maria Levandovskaya take us back to the glory days of imperial St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, highlighting the composers,...

Opera Prelude: Accidents in Opera

Opera: the most complete art form, and (most of the time) a stunning blend of music, stagecraft, lighting and passion – but what happens when it all goes wrong? Ask any singer and they will have a...

Opera Prelude: Happily Never After

Tosca, plummeting to her doom from the roof of the Castel Sant’Angelo; Juliette, stabbing herself to be reunited with her dying lover Romeo; Rodrigo, shot in front of his powerless best friend;...

Opera Prelude: The Opera Awards Masterclass with Dame Anne Evans

Dame Anne Evans kindly leads this morning’s event with emerging young singers. She made her debut as Countess Ceprano in _Rigoletto_ in 1967 in Geneva and went on to make her debut in a leading...

Concert Duration:
approx. 2 hours

Ticket Information *

£35

* All orders are subject to a transaction fee, except if made in person. See Booking Information for details, payment methods and delivery options.

View Seating Plan Further Ticket Info