Real History Of Opera

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
Carmen20070520

Bizet's Carmen is probably the most well known of all operas. Crammed with tunes we all recognise, it's sometimes so familiar we forget the controversies of class, race and gender which make up this most moving of stories. From the disaster of the first performance to the phenomenal success the composer dreamed of, but never saw, Huw Edwards searches for the real history of Carmen.

Carmen20070525

Bizet's Carmen is probably the most well known of all operas. Crammed with tunes we all recognise, it's sometimes so familiar we forget the controversies of class, race and gender which make up this most moving of stories. From the disaster of the first performance to the phenomenal success the composer dreamed of, but never saw, Huw Edwards searches for the real history of Carmen.

Carmen20070622

Huw Edwards searches for the real history of Bizet's Carmen, a moving story crammed with tunes so familiar we forget the controversies of class, race and gender at its heart.

Guillaume Tell20070506

Rossini's last opera, Guillaume Tell, is about the political ideals of a conservative population, rising up against tyrannical overlords and in 1829, the year before the July revolution, it had a special resonance for the Parisian people for whom it was written. It had a different kind of resonance in Italy, Rossini's home country, much of which was under Austrian rule, as was Switzerland in the days of William Tell.

Guillaume Tell20070608

Rossini's last opera, Guillaume Tell, is about the political ideals of a conservative population, rising up against tyrannical overlords and in 1829, the year before the July revolution, it had a special resonance for the Parisian people for whom it was written. It had a different kind of resonance in Italy, Rossini's home country, much of which was under Austrian rule, as was Switzerland in the days of William Tell.

La Boheme20070527

Huw Edwards discovers how some of the greatest operatic masterpieces reflect the social, cultural and political circumstances of their age. La Boheme: A look at Puccini's bittersweet tale of doomed love set against a backdrop of Bohemian Paris.

The Marriage Of Figaro20070513

Vienna in 1785 was a political melting pot, with the ideas of the Enlightenment holding sway and revolution in Paris just around the corner. The young Mozart had arrived hoping to conform his early musical promise in the most influential city in Europe, and the vehicle he chose to use was the banned French play The Marriage of Figaro. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Marriage Of Figaro20070615
03Porgy And Bess2007042220070427

Huw Edwards explores the story behind George Gershwin's revolutionary opera, Porgy and Bess, which focuses on the lives of a poor black community in the heart of America's deep South at the beginning of the 20th century.

04 LASTMadama Butterfly20070504

The story of Puccini's Madama Butterfly is an outrageous scandal.

A visiting representative of a foreign power procures a 15 year old local Japanese girl for what is little more than casual sex on a long term contract.

She becomes pregnant and, with the connivance of the diplomatic service, the baby is removed from the care of its mother, resulting in her suicide.

Huw Edwards finds that this shocking story has its basis in truth; furthermore that Puccini's willow patterned image of Japan ignored the birth of a new super-power and the struggle for a new world order.