- with Rosie Clifford (mezzo-soprano) accompanied by Natalie Burch
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 is full of beloved characters meeting grisly ends and sad endings, and audiences can’t get enough! What is it about watching misery onstage that so appeals to our collective psyche?
In this lecture, Rosie Clifford will take us on a voyage through the history of tragedy, from its earliest roots in Greek drama, right up to the present day. It’s clear that as audiences, we gain a sense of catharsis from watching characters undergo the worst possible events; why is this, and why does opera in particular embrace this so completely? Operatic tragedy is such a recognisable form that it has almost become a cliché, and plots seem to become ever more convoluted and desperate in their efforts to doom their characters to horrible ends. However, as W. H. Auden said, “No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible”! Leave your scepticism at the door and join Rosie for an adventure through opera’s gloomiest – and yet most transcendent – moments and discover just why it is that we can’t keep away from tragedy.