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VIRTUAL The Story of Opera Part 2: Romantic Opera 1800-1890

VIRTUAL The Story of Opera Part 2: Romantic Opera 1800-1890


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 2 of a 3 part series on opera presented by composer, conductor and educator Dr. Robert W. Butts and covers the period from 1800-1890.  It will include a talk combined with musical selections.

The 19th Century is known as The Romantic Era in music and Italian opera continued to dominate.  Opera reached new peaks of popularity and influence.  Sources for inspiration were more greatly varied and, as with other music and arts, emotional intensity became a must.  Comic opera and Serious opera both flourished, many composers working in both.  At the same time, opera quickly included social issues and concerns as well as the era's political ideals and the rise of nationalism.  Bel canto opera refers to Italian opera composed between 1800-1870; the first to master this style in which vocal beauty and singing stars dominated was Gioachino Rossini whose Barber of Seville remains the world's most popular comic opera.  Rossini was followed by Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti in developing the rich bel canto style.  The most successful composer of the style was Giuseppe Verdi who combined elements of romanticism with the movement towards Italian unification known as the Risorgimento.   French and Russian opera were also common and  popular.   German Romantic opera developed with the new ideas of Richard Wagner, whose Ring Cycle of 4 operas have proven inspiration to authors and painters as well as composers and musicians. 

 Musical examples will include works by Giachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, and Petr Tchaikovsky.

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 1 of the series on Early Opera 1600-1800 premieres on May 24th

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

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

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, June 21, 2021
7:00pm - 8:15pm
Livingston Public Library
  Lecture     Live Stream  
Registration has closed.

Event Organizer

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

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