Are you an opera boffin or a trivia buff? Do you love the tunes but want to know more? Led by acclaimed music educator Graham Abbott of Keys to Music fame, Opera Discovery Days are just that: an opportunity to learn about the music, the composer and the amazing artform of opera. Abbott’s charming, informed and witty delivery is a wonderful way to learn in a relaxed and fun environment.
Each Discovery Day focuses on a different composer and is timed so that you’ll know a lot more about each of our major productions before it arrives. Bring your partner, friends or family along for the day. School’s in session. See you Saturday!
▼ Carmen and Bizet, Saturday 2 March, 10am–4pm
Carmen and the French view of Spain
What is it about Spain which attracted French artists, writers and composers? And why does Bizet’s Carmen continue to fascinate us?
With Carmen as our focus, this Discovery Day will delve into the origins of Bizet’s last work, and the questions which still remain over the composer’s real intentions for it. We’ll talk to people involved in State Opera’s outdoor performance on 23 March, hear some of the work’s greatest moments, and explore the wider legacy of French music inspired by Spain.
▼ Vixen and Czech Opera, Saturday 4 May, 10am–4pm
Janáček’s Operas, and the Australian connection
Leoš Janáček might still be almost unknown outside the Czech Republic were it not for the efforts of Sir Charles Mackerras. The Australian-born conductor discovered Janáček’s operas while studying in Prague and encouraged their performance in London. The Czech composer is now regarded as one of the truly great opera composers of the early 20th century.
This Discovery Day explores Janáček’s life and work, and specifically his wonderful The Cunning Little Vixen, which is being staged by State Opera in May. You’ll meet people involved in the production and get an insider’s view of the challenges and delights presented by the score, and hear some of the music. If you’re a newcomer to Janáček, then you won’t be by the end of the day!
▼ Strauss, Saturday 27 July, 10am–4pm
Richard Strauss, and the soprano obsession
In preparation for the mighty concert of music by Richard Strauss, presented by State Opera on 25 October, this Discovery Day explores Strauss’ operas and songs, and his obsession with the soprano voice.
The day will include discussions of Strauss’ life and work, and we’ll hear some of his music performed live in the studio. We’ll also pay close attention to the often forgotten but totally essential partner in all opera – and especially those of Strauss – the orchestra.
▼ Puccini, Saturday 26 October, 10am–4pm
A Japanese melting pot
State Opera presents perhaps the two most famous operas set in Japan side-by-side in November. Puccini’s Madama Butterfly is one of the most popular and most often-performed stage works in the world, while for fans of Victorian operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado is a perennial favourite. The former is a gut-wrenching tragedy, the latter a delightful farce, yet both show the European fascination with the exotic, and in particular Japan, only recently open to the West when these works were written. Beneath the surface they have much to say to us today about cultural appropriation.
This Discovery Day explores the history of both works, and we’ll hear from artists involved in the productions as well as experience some of the music live in the studio.
Registration includes morning tea and light lunch.
Minimum registration numbers required to run each event.