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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 this season, so watch this page for dates and details to be announced soon. To supplement, you may browse our library of lectures and opera performance essays.

Board member Peter Dundas presents a Don Giovanni lecture written by Agneta Borgstedt at Fairport Library on September 22, 2021. 

Brighton Memorial Library

2300 Elmwood Ave


Lecture/Listening Series

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2 •  6-8 pm
Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra
Peter Dundas

In a story of corruption, plotting, vengeance, and suspense, a lost daughter is found and reunited with her father and grandfather, despite being under their protection all along.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9 •  6-8 pm
SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Eleni with composer Cary Ratcliff

Rochester's own Cary Ratcliff highlights his new opera, Eleni, a lyrical work based on events in Greece after WWII. Audio excerpts from Eastman grad turned pro, Kathryn Lewek, will be featured.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16 •  6-8 pm
Rossini’s La Cenerentola
Carol Crocca

Carol will present highlights from the Italian version of the Cinderella story, featuring renowned mezzo Cecilia Bartoli in the starring role.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23 •  6-8 pm
Bad Girls in Opera
Carol Crocca

You know 'em, you love 'em...those passionate temptresses, murderesses and badasses that captivate us.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30 • 6-8 pm
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Opera Duets
Peter Dundas

Often, duets mark decisive moments in the drama.  In this presentation, Peter will explore some notable duets within the opera canon and share how they are constructed, musically and dramatically.

Highlights from the March 30, 2022

Opera Duets lecture by board member Peter Dundas.


This lecture, developed by Art Axelrod and presented by Peter Dundas delves into the construction of duets in opera and how they are used to communicate turning points in the plot. Peter will review the five voice types (soprano, mezzo, tenor, baritone, and bass) and their various combinations in the opera duet repertoire.


Fifteen memorable video clips from Der RosenkavalierLucia di Lammermoor, Aida, La Traviata, Norma, Don Carlo and more will be showcased as we enjoy stellar performances from Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Renée Fleming, Ferrucio Furlinetto, Juan Diego Flórez, Jonas Kaufmann and Joyce DiDonato.

MetOpera Norma

Featured Duet: Joyce DiDonato and Sondra Radvonovsky perform in a 2017 performance of Norma.

Photo: MetOpera.

Special guest Cary Ratcliff presented the recording of "Eleni" an opera he composed at our March 9, 2022 lecture.

Board member Art Axelrod presents his Opera Duets lecture on October 6, 2021 to an interested crowd.