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An Introduction to Opera

This course will look at the development of the operatic art-form from its first origins to its culmination in the works of Wagner and Verdi in the 19th century.

Its aim will be not only to introduce opera, but also to put the operatic works in historical context. In each lecture a particular era or movement will be examined and combined with an historical overview, a detailed look at the work of selected composers and a focus on three particular operas. The course provides a taster of the operatic genre both helping the newcomer to start exploring one of the world's great art-forms, whilst offering new historical insights for the more established opera lover. To encourage listeners to explore further, lectures will conclude with a short recorded operatic extract, and suggested listening lists will be provided for those who wish to explore further at home.

Italian Bel Canto
Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini

In the third lecture you will see how Italian opera of the 19th century was defined by the decline of opera seria (serious opera), the rise of opera buffa (comic opera) and the development of opera semi-seria (semi-serious opera). The Romantic movement came to have an important influence on music and plot, placing emphasis on emotion and imagination as well as introducing important literary sources. Here you will examine the importance of the singer to opera at that period and the Italian creation of bel canto. The lecture will finish by examining how Donizetti and Rossini's careers, outside Italy, cross-fertilised their work. There will also be detailed look at Rossini and Il Barbiere di Sivigla, Donizetti and Lucia di Lammermoor, Bellini and Norma.


Mr Robert Hugill | talks


Date and Time:

28 January 2016 at 10:45 am


Half Day



The University Women's Club
2 Audley Square

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