Bravos & Breastplates – lecture for The Arts Society Sevenoaks


Here’s the breakdown of my talk:

Starting with a look at the origins of opera as a form of courtly entertainment in Italy in the early years of the C17th, this overview takes in the opulent spectacles at the French court of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, the “Sun King”, and pokes its nose into opera houses across Europe in the Baroque era, including those in London, where Italian opera gained an unlikely foothold, and was memorably described by Dr Johnson as an “exotic and irrational entertainment”.

Sandy examines the legacy of those two creative giants of the nineteen century, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, and takes us up towards our own time, where surtitles and HD cinema transmissions have made opera more widely accessible than ever before. Undeniably a major step forward – but has this come at a cost?

And event details are here. The venue is

Walthamstow Hall Senior School, Sevenoaks
Hollybush Lane, Sevenoaks, TN13 3UL