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Transforming Opera

22 May 2012

Transforming opera pic - web

Why attend a live musical performance when you could stay at home and listen to a recording? What can the cultural politics surrounding Verdi and Puccini tell us about creativity and ageing? What is the significance of a historical conductor's complex relations with the Third Reich?

These are some of the many issues that will be addressed at Love to Death: Transforming Opera, a series of free public events organised by the University’s School of Music in collaboration with Welsh National Opera and incorporating the annual conference of the Royal Musical Association.

Taking place at the Wales Millennium Centre from Thursday 31 May 2012 to Saturday 2 June 2012 the conference is themed around Welsh National Opera’s performances of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde and Puccini’s La bohème, with the works of both composers providing major themes for debate.

Public highlights include the keynote address given by Linda and Michael Hutcheon (University of Toronto). A married couple, Linda is Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature and Michael is Professor of Medicine. They work collaboratively and across their very different disciplines on the intersection of medical and cultural history, using opera as their vehicle of choice.

Their talk, at 5pm on 31 May, will follow the cultural politics of Italian opera in the late-nineteenth century, as the mantle passed from the ageing Verdi to the younger Puccini. The talk will be chaired by Professor Joanna Latimer from CAScIOPE (Cardiff University Ageing, Science and Older People), a multi-disciplinary research network spanning a number of Schools at the University.

Other events will explore operatic staging, the experience of live concert performances and the significance of Wilhelm Furtwängler as conductor and political figure.

Dr Clair Rowden, Lecturer in Music at Cardiff University and chair of the conference committee, said: "The conference, held in the world-class home of Welsh National Opera, is an excellent opportunity for us to bring together scholars, musicians and the general public to reflect upon the impact that academic research can have in a wider performance and reception context."

A limited number of free tickets are available for all these events. To secure your place, call WNO on 029 2063 5030 or email

For more information on the Love to Death: Transforming Opera conference and the fill programme, visit

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