The Gilded Stage ( A Social History of Opera ) – Wednesday 18th March 2015

By Daniel Snowman

The broadcaster, lecturer and writer, Daniel Snowman, will give us three lectures on the history of opera from Monteverdi to Brittain. The day will start with the story of the birth of opera in Italy and the spread of its popularity to the Court of Louis XIV at Versailles. Then, through the work of Handel, it became fashionable in London. Further expansion followed to Mozart’s Vienna, Verdi’s Italy and Wagner’s Germany.

Finally the movement spread to the rest of the major cities of the world, resulting in the creation of the great opera houses of Europe and beyond and culminating in the building of the Sydney Opera House.

The afternoon lecture will examine the use of opera by Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini to enhance their popularity and status. There will be opportunities to listen to some of the great opera singers of the past such as Caruso and Gigli. Undoubtably, this Special Interest Day will extend our knowledge and understanding of opera but it will also leave us determined to go to the opera more often.