OLLA News & Events

February Seminar: Ballet and Opera Intertwined

February 25, 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Thayer Hall, Colburn School

Orientation for New Members: 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Program: 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM

Speakers: Desirée Mays and Bruce Allen Brown

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LA Opera is bringing the rare staging of Gluck’s 1762 opera Orpheus and Euridyce featuring a co-production with the Joffrey Ballet. Desirée Mays will discuss myriad examples of dance in opera, from the can-can in Offenbach to Strauss’s unveiling of Salome, to the orgiastic Venusburg in Tannhäuser to the exquisite Dances of the Blessed Spirits and of the Furies in Gluck's retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Desirée will describe the temporary fall from grace of dance in the 20th century and its vibrant return today in the works of choreographers, conductors, and directors. Many dance excerpts will be shown.

Bruce Alan Brown will describe the quite different ways in which dance and opera interacted (or simply coexisted) on French and Italian stages during the 17th and 18th centuries, and how Gluck’s operatic reform in Vienna drew upon both national traditions, as well as on innovations by local artists. With the aid of both visual and audio examples, he will then analyze the workings of dance, song, and spectacle in both the Viennese Orfeo ed Euridice and the Parisian Orphée et Euridice, both as originally staged and in notable modern revivals.



Desirée Mays and Bruce Allen Brown

Born in Ireland, Desirée Mays moved to London to become a ballet dancer in the opera ballet as a young woman. She eventually came to the US and became a globetrotter for opera. She lectures both live and on radio across the States, she writes books on the subject, and she takes groups of people worldwide in search of that perfect opera in that perfect opera house somewhere on planet Earth.

Bruce Alan Brown, Professor of Musicology at the University of Southern California, specializes in later eighteenth-century opera and ballet, in particular the music of Gluck and Mozart. He has degrees in music from the University of California, Berkeley (AB 1977, MA 1979, PhD 1986), and studied harpsichord both there and in Amsterdam. His publications include Gluck and the French Theatre in Vienna (1991), critical editions of Gluck’s Le Diable à quatre (1992) and the 1759 and 1775 versions of L’Arbre enchanté (2010 and 2015), W.A. Mozart: Così fan tutte (1995), The Grotesque Dancer on the Eighteenth-Century Stage (ed., with Rebecca Harris-Warrick; 2005), and numerous articles. From 2005 to 2007 he was editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society. He is a member of the editorial board of the Gluck-Gesamtausgabe (Mainz) and of the Akademie für Mozart-Forschung (Salzburg).

Click here to order tickets.

Author: Thomas Lady

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