Tuning in to Opera - Our Meetings
Our meetings combine listening, DVD viewing, discussion and reflection on drama, music, acting, singing and theatrical staging. We’ll study the varied work of particular composers, compare productions and the different presentations of major roles by great singers and tackle topics across the field of opera. Each term will focus on one or two composers. In Term 1, the curtain will open on Georges Bizet. For part of each meeting, we’ll be listening to and viewing recordings or videos from operas of our chosen composer. Then there’s discussion of their context and influences and the variety of their operas, comparing productions and approaches to them. Alongside this focus, each meeting will take up a topic to discuss across the world of opera. For example, the topic might be: Plots and their problems – why does opera have such a terrible reputation for terrible plots? Anachronism or artistry: the pros and cons of productions that relocate operas in time and place; Overtures as marketing – what does a good overture do to the audience? Is it all about the Diva? Comparing famous singers’ handling of the same role (or aria); Love scenes - why they are best done in opera; Great choruses and their power to focus a plot; Blind tastings: whose version of a famous aria do you prefer, and why?
Term 3, Donizetti, Puccini and more (No Term 2 meetings) 1, Jul 22, Donizetti and Elixir of Love 2, Jul 29, Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor 3, Aug 05, Donizetti, The Tudor Queens 4, Aug 12, Donizetti, La Fille du Régiment 5, Aug 19, Operas vs Musicals 6, Aug 26, What is it about Puccini’s Music? 7, Sep 02, Tosca 8, Sep 09, Turandot 9, Sep 16, Full opera: Strauss’s Rosenkavalier
Term 4 - Richard Wagner 1-2, Oct  14&21, Wagner, his music, and Der fliegende Hollander 3, Oct 28, Lohengrin 4, Nov 4, Tristan & Isolde 5, Nov 11, Ring, Das Rheingold 6 Nov 18, Die Walküre 7, Nov 25, Siegfried 8, Dec 2, Götterdämmerung 9, Dec 9, final full opera meeting