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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.

19th Century Colossuses - Verdi and Wagner

In this lecture, the two major figures in 19th century opera, Verdi and Wagner will be examined, and how they both come to develop their own form of music drama. Wagner built on Weber's search for German opera art, but was also highly influenced by French grand opera. Writing his own librettos, Wagner attempted to create the complete music drama. Verdi's experiments with drama and form led him away from the aria-based form of Italian bel canto to his own music drama. Both composers left problems for their successors. You will look in detail at Wagner and The Ring, Verdi and La Traviata and Otello.


Mr Robert Hugill | talks


Date and Time:

11 February 2016 at 10:45 am


Half Day



The University Women's Club
2 Audley Square

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