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Thursday at the Opera - Lecture III



Thursday at the Opera - Lecture III

Our series Thursday at the Opera is back at the Institute from February 15th until March 29th.

The series will be presented by Deirdre O'Grady, Emeritus Professor of Italian and Comparative Studies of University College Dublin. The illustrated lectures she presents will consider Puccini’s works and their sources, influences, great performers in specific roles in which they triumphed, and famous stage productions. The lectures will begin on February 15th and end on March 29th. Each lecture will last about one hour starting at 6:30pm on Thursdays.
Lectures will be in English.


8th March: Manon Lescaut (Turin 1893), La Bohème (1896). Success and International Fame

Puccini’s third opera Manon Lescaut is derived from L’Histoire de Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prevost. The material had already been adapted for the operatic theatre by Auber and Massenet and was also the subject of a ballet by Halévy. It may be argued that here Puccini has found his true verismo style. Love, luxury, frivolity and despair provide a complete portrait of the heroine. Omni present is eighteenth – century Paris and its various social classes. Here Puccini’s symphonic approach to the orchestra and an emphasis on melody is combined with an ability to create musical tableaux. An example is the ritual of Adornment, Education and Entertainment in Act II. The eighteenth - century salon society depicted by the Venetian painter Pietro Longhi is recaptured in a realistic framework.

La Bohème is Puccini’s most successful work. It contains some of the composer’s most memorable tunes: Che gelida manina, Mi chiamano Mimì, O soave fanciulla and Musetta’s waltz song to mention but a few. Opening with impressionistic delicacy and musical refinement it tells of the adventures of four bohemians: a painter, a poet a musician and a philosopher. Centre stage are two Parisian grisettes, independent working women who cross the Seine in order to become lorettes or Courtesans. The protagonist Mimì returns to die in the arms of her true love, the poet Rodolfo.

The opera is a portrait of Bohemian life that lasts just one season. Symbolism through objects, places and personae dominates the work. The third ‘Quadro’/Act set at the Customs Barrier at first light symbolizes solitude, monotony and moving on. The bohemians themselves musically represent the arts and philosophy, highlighted throughout the score.


Date: Thursday, March 08, 2018

Time: From 6:30 pm To 8:00 pm

Admission : Free