Tuning in to Opera -
What do we do in our meetings?
Our meetings combine listening, viewing, discussion and reflection on
drama, music, acting, singing and theatrical staging. We’ll study the varied
works of particular composers, compare productions and the different
presentations of major roles by great singers and tackle topics across the
field of opera.
Term 1: Baroque Opera
This term we turn back to explore the origin of western opera,
focusing on four of the greats.
Irregular and bizarre? Or
lyrical, beguiling, addictive?
Once called "sewing machine
music”, Baroque is enjoying
new popularity especially in
opera and especially in
modern adaptions. For
introduction to the music, try
this brief text with
illustrations: or this more
detailed account. An
illustrated video introduction
is here. And refer to this glossary
New to Baroque opera? Try this review of modern productions.
“Baroque style was about illusion and extravagance, and opera —
then a new medium, multidimensional and multisensory — was
perhaps its ideal art form. … The Baroque was about restraint, but
also about joy: the exhilaration of performance.”
The term Baroque probably ultimately derived
from the Italian word barocco, which was a term
used by philosophers during the Middle Ages to
describe an obstacle in schematic logic.
Subsequently the word came to denote any
contorted idea or involuted process of thought.
Another possible source is the Portuguese word
barroco (Spanish barrueco), used to describe an
irregular or imperfectly shaped pearl, and this
usage still survives in the jeweller's term baroque
pearl. In art criticism the word Baroque came to be
used to describe anything irregular, bizarre, or
otherwise departing from established rules and
proportions. ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA
Here’s our meetings plan for the term
with internal links to composer and meeting pages. Watch out for more
links as we get closer to the meetings.
10 Feb: Orfeo (1607)
17 Feb: Incoronation di Poppaea (1643)
24 Feb: David et Jonathas (1688)
3 Mar: Dido and Aenas (1689)
(10 March Richardses absent.
Topic to be decided, watch this space.)
17 Mar: Saul (1739)
24 Mar: Serse (1738)
31 March: Giulio Cesare (1724). End of term full opera viewing off-site.