Opera at Oakhurst - April 12-15, 2019
Lodging has SOLD OUT for this event. Commuter rate is still available!
Paris: City of Light, Capital of Opera
For the last three and a half centuries, since the reign of Louis XIV, Paris has been the capital of European politics, culture, art and fashion. For most of this time, it has stood at the center of the European operatic world. There is hardly a major composer of opera who has not been drawn to Paris because of the highest standards practiced in its musical and theatrical life. In Paris, operas were performed with greater splendor than anywhere else in Europe, with the world’s greatest – and most highly paid – singers in the leading roles. But, in addition to the internationally renowned productions at the Opéra, Paris produced its own local brand of opera, and in so doing, added greatly to the operatic repertoire.
As in our previous, successful seminar on Vienna, we will be examining several aspects of the operatic life of the city; we will explore the strong association between opera, politics and commerce in Paris and will identify and discuss the major theatres where opera has been performed over the years. We will, of course, be paying continuous attention to the composers and the operas that have been central to the development of the unique strain of Parisian opera. This will include surveying the elaborate productions that Lully staged for the court of Louis XIV, the ground-breaking work of Rameau at the Opéra, Rousseau’s highly-influential theories on operatic performance, and the impact of Gluck on French performance. We will note the contributions operatic performance made to the French Revolution and track the development of the most influential operatic genre of the 19th century, Grand Opera, a survey which will include the operas of Verdi and Berlioz. Paris was the birth place of Carmen, a key work as opera advanced into the representation of the lives of the common people; this will involve discussion of the French véristes, such as Massenet and Charpentier. We will also assess the contribution Paris has made to the opera of the 20th and 21st centuries.
This promises to be a packed weekend. The talks delivered by Professor Williams will include the use of video and recorded music to help us acquaint ourselves with the intensely lively and diverse history of opera in one of the world’s most important and influential artistic cities.