Just Good Friends

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19980226

Rodney Milnes presents the first of three programmes exploring same-sex relationships in opera. In the wake of the Wilde scandal, Mrs Patrick Campbell said that it did not matter what people did in bed as long as they did not do it in the street and frighten the horses. Indeed, no-one was frightened before the Wilde case, or before Freud got his teeth into the subject - people simply had feelings about each other regardless of gender. Nevertheless, same-sex relationships were explored in opera, and Rodney Milnes begins his survey in the 17th and 18th-centuries.

Breaking Cover19980312

Concluding the series in which Rodney Milnes looks at same-sex relationships in opera. `Breaking Cover'. After the Oscar Wilde scandal, homosexuality became something definable, something that could be categorised - though some would say it was categorised in narrow, physical terms rather than being understood in a wider emotional context. Either way, in the 20th century homosexual feeling became a subject to be treated openly, even in opera - sometimes seriously, sometimes in terms of camp stereotypes. Featuring music by Strauss, Britten, Janacek and Walton.

Love Unspoken, Faith Unbroken19980305

Rodney Milnes presents the second of three programmes about same-sex relationships in opera. `Love Unspoken, Faith Unbroken'. The age of innocence celebrated in the first programme lasted well into the 19th century, although in a somewhat overheated, Romantic form. No-one found anything remarkable about the passionate male friendships in Schiller, Tennyson or Verdi. But by the end of the century, W S Gilbert was hot on the scent of Oscar Wilde, and the cat was soon out of the bag. The programme includes highlights from operas as diverse as `The Force of Destiny' and `Patience'.