Tuning in to Opera - Our Meetings

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 of terms.  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.