7 episodes

Explore the thrilling world of opera and its component parts in our series of podcasts, produced as part of the DARE partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds.

Thinking with Opera Opera North

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 6 Ratings

Explore the thrilling world of opera and its component parts in our series of podcasts, produced as part of the DARE partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds.

    Thinking with Opera 08: Carmen, Carmencita!

    Thinking with Opera 08: Carmen, Carmencita!

    Who is Carmen? Is she really the exotic femme fatale of popular imagination, or is there more about her story that can be told? How could this be accomplished?
    In this special instalment of Thinking With Opera, recorded live at a seminar in the Howard Assembly Room at Opera North in February 2022, Professor Edward Venn looks at the many ways in which different operatic components come together to create meaning in Carmen.
    Focusing on Edward Dick’s 2021 production for Opera North, he hears from creative personnel from across Opera North, singers, a director and a conductor, the Head of Costume and Access Manager, and American academic Susan McClary, Professor of Musicology at Case Western Reserve University.
    A DARE symposium in partnership with the University of Leeds, led by Professor Edward Venn from the School of Music, and supported by AHRC.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Thinking with Opera 07: Paul Mason and Frank Finlay on Parsifal

    Thinking with Opera 07: Paul Mason and Frank Finlay on Parsifal

    “What is the tension between this ugly ideology, the beauty of the music, and the agony of the man producing it?”
    The final podcast of our trilogy focusing on Wagner's epic last opera is a wide-ranging, unflinching discussion between the journalist, writer and filmmaker Paul Mason and Professor Frank Finlay of the University of Leeds.
    Paul traces the composer’s changing philosophical viewpoints, from his early identification with the Young Hegelians and Ludwig Feuerbach, to the later influence of Arthur Schopenhauer and Buddhism on the themes of suffering and enlightenment through compassion in Parsifal, as well as the more baneful influence of the racial theorist Arthur de Gobineau.
    Wagner’s antisemitism is discussed in the context of his works and the problems it presents for their audiences. Another tension – between the composer’s anti-modernist, proto-fascist sympathies, and the radicalism in his music – is identified.
    Parsifal is put in the context of Wagner’s oeuvre as a whole, in particular the Ring cycle and Die Meistersinger, illuminated throughout by Paul and Frank’s deep but complex engagement with the works.
    Excerpts of the cast, Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North in rehearsals for the 2022 concert staging of Parsifal are heard throughout.
    Thinking with Opera is produced by the DARE partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds.

    • 46 min
    Thinking with Opera 06: Parsifal with Alex Ross and Dr. Áine Sheil

    Thinking with Opera 06: Parsifal with Alex Ross and Dr. Áine Sheil

    In the second of three episodes focusing on Wagner's epic final opera, New Yorker critic and author of Wagnerism and The Rest is Noise Alex Ross and Dr. Áine Sheil of the University of York discuss gender, sexuality and ritual in Parsifal, and in Richard Wagner’s work as a whole.
    The multi-faceted character of Kundry – ‘Wandering Jew’, mother, seductress – is unpicked, and ambiguous readings of the brotherhood of the Grail Knights are offered.
    Parsifal’s enduring mystery and power is seen through the disparate audiences for its early performances – from American debutantes sent to Bayreuth for their self-improvement, to gay men and women attracted by an atmosphere of acceptance unknown in the wider society of the time.
    Finally, there are close readings of the music itself: an echo from Wagner's 1868 opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the ‘androgyny’ of his scoring for orchestra, his experiments with instrumentation and tonality, and the astonishing ‘music of collapse’ in the Grail Procession in Act III.
    Excerpts from Parsifal recorded at the dress rehearsal for Opera North's 2022 concert staging are featured throughout.
    Introduced and chaired by Professor Frank Finlay of the University of Leeds.
    Thinking with Opera is produced by the DARE partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds.

    • 50 min
    Simon Armitage and Gavin Bryars on Words and Music

    Simon Armitage and Gavin Bryars on Words and Music

    Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and composer Gavin Bryars consider what happens when their respective art forms are brought together.

    They discuss the pleasures and perils of crossing between the two disciplines, with excerpts from their work woven throughout, including tracks by Armitage’s post rock/ambient outfit LYR, and Bryars’ influential 1971 work Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.

    Chaired by Dr Kimberly Campanello of the University of Leeds.

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Thomas Adès and Operas of Confinement

    Thomas Adès and Operas of Confinement

    How do music, plot, staging, action, dance and performance combine to produce meaning for an opera audience?

    Taking a close look at Thomas Adès's The Tempest, Professor Edward Venn of the University of Leeds and choreographer and director Aletta Collins – who choreographed the opera's premiere in 2004 – explore the conversation between different elements in opera.

    They also consider notions of confinement and restricted movement in all three of Adès's operas.

    • 50 min
    Thinking with Opera: Carnivalesque

    Thinking with Opera: Carnivalesque

    From Monteverdi to Monty Python, cross-dressing, gross-out humour and a preoccupation with the grotesque seem to offer a release from the constrictions of moral codes and social conventions.

    Tenor Daniel Norman takes a trip into transgression in the company of Professor Alan O'Leary. Drawing on the theories of philosopher and critic Mikhail Bakhtin, they discuss “the licence to misbehave” in opera, film and performance.

    Part of the DARE partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

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