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Thinking with opera

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

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Episode 1: Performing Violence

Professor Griselda Pollock

“In cinema you are a spectator; in opera you are present. I’m fascinated by the notion that we witness in opera: we have to endure.”

Ranging from Ancient Greece to The Godfather, and focusing on the operas of Puccini and Verdi, the 2020 Holberg Prize Laureate Professor Griselda Pollock discusses with Opera North Projects Director, Dominic Gray, how violence is represented in painting, sculpture, film and literature, how it is performed in opera, and its implications.

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Episode 2: Carnivalesque

Professor Alan O’Leary and Daniel Norman

“The licence to misbehave.”

From Monteverdi to Monty Python, cross-dressing, gross-out humour and a preoccupation with the grotesque seems to offer a release from the constraints of morality and social conventions.

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Warning: this podcast features frank discussion of bodily functions!

Episode 3: Thomas Adès and Operas of Confinement

Professor Edward Venn and Aletta Collins

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 the notions of confinement and restricted movement in all three of Adès’s operas: The Tempest, Powder Her Face (1995), and The Exterminating Angel (2016), which take on a new significance in the COVID-era.

Read our podcast notes »

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