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The Unsung Heroes of Opera: secondary roles are not for secondary singers

Opera Prelude Summer 2014 Lecture Season

Venue: Caversham Room at Cadogan Hall

Performers

  • with Tyler Clarke, tenor

Although a secondary role will never get the last bow, opera is full of essential and important smaller roles often involved in pivotal moments in the plot and providing contrast to the leading lady and leading man. Explore the importance of these roles and how they often link very closely to the forms of Comedia dell’Arte, especially in regards to the Spieltenor. The UK is a great exponent of singers who perform just behind the limelight but enjoy huge success at doing so, and often work in the most prestigious houses. How do these roles add to an opera, what characteristics make a leading secondary role, and why we should celebrate them?

Opera is for everyone whether you are new to opera or a seasoned aficionado! You do not need to be an expert to enjoy our performance based lectures. Of course, the more you know, the more there is to enjoy! With that in mind we aim to make each class informative, interactive and entertaining, offering singer’s insights illustrated with live performance and well known recordings. These lectures form the bridge across the footlights, bringing you nearer to opera singers and their diverse, enriching art form; increasing your knowledge and enjoyment of opera.

No qualifications are necessary to attend. The audience is not required to sing!

Part of Opera Prelude 2014 Lecture Season

The Buffa Works of Donizetti - the Man, the Music, the Modern Day

Tenor Joe Morgan discusses the use of comedy in Donizetti's work and its operatic legacy.

Fairytales, Magic & Mysticism in Opera

A light-hearted talk with soprano Rosalind Coad who helps compare the well-known story of Cinderella with the opera La Cenerentola, and the enduring appeal of the enchanted fairytale for all ages.

'O is for Opera' – A Singer's Guide to Operatic Terminology

Mezzo Adriana Festeu takes the mystery out of opera criticism and reviews, covering definitions and exemplifications of widely used technical and operatic terms with live demonstration.

The Three Queens: Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux (Elisabetta)

Adriana Festeu explores Donizetti's historic trilogy, the surge in their performance practice and how the title roles are intrinsically linked to the strong characters portrayed.

Trouble at the Opera! – the Impact of Censorship on the Development of Opera

Ricardo Panela explores the impact of censorship on the development of opera; the political and personal agendas of the ruling classes or theatre owners that were often brought to bear on composers...

'Behind the Scenes' Masterclass with Della Jones and Opera Prelude's Young Singers

A very special masterclass led by renowned mezzo Della Jones, with Adriana Festeu, Aidan Coburn and Ricardo Panela performing works by Rossini and Mozart.

The Devil is in the Detail

Goethe's Faust has captivated composers across the years. Callie Swarbrick focuses on three works by Gounod, Berlioz and Busoni and how each portrays the tale and how the ideas of devilish greed...

Boldness be my Friend: How Verdi Took the Bard and Made Him Sing

A lecture examining how Shakespeare could be adapted for the operatic stage, Verdi’s experience of doing so throughout his life, and why his Shakespearean operas have lasted where other composers'...

Czech Opera: The Works of Dvořák, Smetana and Janáček

Adriana Festeu explores the magnificent Bohemian and Moravian cultures, with Smetana and Dvořák leading the way to a nationalistic movement.

The Castrati: their sacrifice, their art, their legacy

The history of the castrati in opera as well as an analysis of the most famous roles created for them. With Adriana Festeu, mezzo-soprano.

Tosca: How Puccini came to write a non-Italian Italian classic

At the time of Tosca's premiere in 1900, a time of very strong Italian nationalism, it was fully expected that Puccini would follow in Verdi's footsteps as the godfather of Italian opera, and deliver...

The Demands of Being a Diva

The great Joan Sutherland was once quoted as saying, 'If I weren’t reasonably placid, I don’t think I could cope with this sort of life. To be a diva, one has to be absolutely like a horse!' With...

Die Fledermaus: flirtations and frivolities

This morning’s lecture discusses how the operetta genre came about. After their initial popularity, operettas declined in public appeal, being considered less 'serious' than 'real' operas....

Villains: from the Devil himself to Baron Scarpia without leaving the F clef!

A journey with some of opera's most remarkable Bad Boys! The ones that everybody loves to hate and who, more often than not, have some incredible music to sing, all of which happens to be sung by...

From Pears to Pavarotti – why the tenor always gets the loudest applause

Exploring all elements of the tenor voice, this lecture features examples from the greats of the past, discussion on the particularities of certain voices and repertoire, and light-hearted...

Rosina Schemer or Dreamer? The lesson scene from Rossini's Barber of Seville

A poster from the Covent Garden in 1900 salutes the great soprano Nellie Melba, come to sing the role of Rosina in The Barber of Seville. But the title of the opera is squeezed in one corner of the...

A young singer's introduction to Wagnerian repertoire

There are singers and there are Wagnerian singers! That daunting difference will be highlighted as Adriana describes her first attempt at introducing Wagner to her audition repertoire. In November,...

Fidelio - speaking truth to power

Beethoven’s inspirational masterpiece delves deep into the universal themes of love, liberty and freedom. He once said of Fidelio, 'Of all my children, this is the one that caused me the worst...

The mezzo-soprano: the performance history of a hybrid voice type

The surviving heroine of the Romantic period, the mezzo is often the negative character or the catalyst of the soprano heroine's demise. A look back at the sort of roles she portrays shows a...

Don Giovanni and the conductor

Mark Austin explores the process of putting on an opera from the conductor’s point of view. This talk will give an insight into the role of the conductor in all areas of opera: casting, the process...

All Hail! - Giulio Cesare

As principal composer for the Royal Academy of Music, Handel was already a success in London during the early part of the 18th century. With the premiere of Giulio Cesare in 1724 however, he shot to...

Christmas is coming! – a concert lecture with harpsichord

Paola Cuffolo and Nicholas Simpson and friends bring you a Handel concert-lecture, exploring the diversity of Handel's repertoire and the history of how it has been performed.

Concert Duration:
2 hours
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£25 payable in advance available from Fiona Hamilton on 07908 894333 (not available online)

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