Event box

VIRTUAL The Story of Opera Part 1: Early Opera 1600-1800

VIRTUAL The Story of Opera Part 1: Early Opera 1600-1800


Opera was a creation of the Baroque period, "invented" around the year 1600 and developed rapidly into one of the world's most popular theatrical forms  The combination of words, music, and drama became immensely popular and spread around the world as opera houses were built and new works created.  Many theater and music elements taken for granted were first developed in opera.  Opera remains a popular, expensive, and inspiring theatrical form.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series on opera presented by composer, conductor and educator Dr. Robert W. Butts and covers the period from 1600-1800.  It will include a talk combined with musical selections.

Opera at first was more a court entertainment, but public opera houses quickly appeared in Italy, France, Germany, and elsewhere.  The first operas were often based on mythological or historical stories.   For much of the 17th and 18th centuries, Italian opera dominated, with French opera the main competition. Claudio Monteverdi, working in Mantua and Venice, created the first true operas.  His L'Orfeo and Coronation of Poppea remain popular and frequently performed.  Opera's success brought it around the world through the 17th century.  Georg Frideric Handel brought opera to new heights when he moved to London in 1711, where he composed works mostly in Italian, but also in English.  Many of his operas are still beloved and performed regularly in all the world's opera houses.  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart created the modern opera in Vienna in the late 18th century.  Mozart transformed opera into the way we know it today while incorporating depth of meaning inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment.   The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and The Magic Flute remain three of the most performed and enjoyed operas of all time. 

Musical excerpts will include works by Claudio Monteverdi, Handel, and Mozart.

Dr. Robert W. Butts has lectured and taught at The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, Montclair  State University, and The College of Saint Elizabeth as well as for The New Jersey Council for the Humanities. He has presented talks and courses for community programs throughout New Jersey. As a  conductor, he has led the award-winning Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey for over 25 years and has  conducted The New Jersey Symphony, The Plainfield Symphony, Opera at Florham, New Jersey Concert Opera, Eastern Opera, and Opera Theater of Montclair. In addition, he has conducted orchestra  and opera performances in Russia, Romania, Germany, and Italy. His compositions have been performed in the United States, Europe, and Asia.  

Part 2 of the series on Romantic Opera 1800-1890 takes place on June 21st

Part 3 of the series on Modern Opera 1890-2000 is on July 19th

You can register for one or more in the series separately.

Information on joining the Zoom session will be emailed the day before the event.

This program is made possible with the support of The Friends of the Livingston Public Library.

Monday, May 24, 2021
7:00pm - 8:15pm
BCCLS Library:
Livingston Public Library
  Lecture     Live Stream  
Registration has closed.

Event Organizer

Profile photo of Livingston Library
Livingston Library
  • 10 Robert Harp Dr.
    Livingston, NJ
  • 973-992-4600

Facebook Twitter