Opera: Inside and Out

Location: Royal Albert Hall, London

Beginning with an enlightening introductory lecture from John Alison, editor of Opera Magazine, our day sees us embark on a guided tour of this legendary building, learning about its iconic architecture as well as the beautiful voices found within.

Martinu’s final masterpiece for the lyric stage, The Greek Passion, is an opera of dislocation. It was written by a Czech composer in exile, who had indeed been in one form of exile or another for most of his life. A story about exiles and refugees—based on Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel Christ Recrucified—it seems a pertinent now as ever.

In this study day, we’ll work our way towards The Greek Passion through Martinu’s 15 or so operas. But how to count them? Everything here depends on classification, as might be expected of operas that range from antiquity and modernism in their inspiration. Martinu’s revolutionary approach to music theatre means that each work is very different. As the culminating point, The Greek Passion is a little more traditionally like a grand opera (certainly, it doesn’t involve film or jazz or dadaism, as some of the earlier pieces did), but everything is relative—it’s not conventional by any means.

But first, we’ll be asking the question: who was Martinu? One of the four greatest Czech composers—alongside Smetana, Dvorák and Janácek—he is perhaps the least well known and least well understood. He was, famously, born at the top of a church tower, which is sometimes said to have skewed his way of looking at the world …


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What to expect 

  • An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
  • A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
  • Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
  • Small Groups 12-25 guests
  • The company of like-minded people!
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