Lecture/Listening Series

For many years, Opera Guild of Rochester has delivered free lectures on a wide range of opera topics. We do these to provide historical background and musical context for operas and composers, and to present operas that the audience might otherwise not have access to or that might prove difficult to understand or appreciate.

We look forward to the return of our lectures, post-pandemic. Until then, you may browse our library of lectures and opera performance essays.

Brighton Library

2300 Elmwood Ave.​


Lecture/Listening Series

TUESDAY, MARCH  10, 2020 •  7–9pm
Philip Glass' Satyagraha
David Dean

This is the second of Glass' trilogy of operas about great men in each of three fields of human endeavor. It concerns Gandhi and the fight for social justice in South Africa.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2020  •  7–9pm
Opeatic Oddities, Singing Outside the Box
Operatic Oddities,
Singing Outside the Box
Art Axelrod

This explores some opera scenes that do not follow the usual conventions of music drama and composition.

TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2020 •  7–9pm
Simon Boccanegra
Verdi's Simon Boccanegra 
Peter Dundas

From a performance at La Scala on Dec. 7, 1978. English Subtitles.
Cappuccilli is Simone, Ghiaurov is Fiesco, Schiavi as Paolo, Freni as Maria and Luchetti as Gabriele. Conducted by Claudio Abbado.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31 , 2020 •  7–9pm
Great Scenes from Verdi
Great Scenes from Verdi
Rosalba Pisaturo

The title says it all!

For instance, Peter Dundas's lecture on Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra is a good example. This opera was a flop when it was first presented in 1857 and yet it contained some of the most beautiful music he ever wrote.

The problem was that the plot is so complicated that few people understand what is happening. Verdi got Boito to help him with this problem and the opera was reintroduced in 1881. It was better and more dramatic but still not accepted by the general public.

Peter's lecture will have 30 minutes of talking and 80 minutes of video clips. He will explain the plot between the various clips, to give the audience a better perspective. This opera is Peter's  favorite Verdi, an opinion shared by several conductors and music critics.