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DateLecture
05 February 2020TOSCA IN ROME (followed by the AGM)
04 March 2020SS GREAT BRITAIN
01 April 2020AUSTEN'S ARCADIA: HER LIFE AND TIMES
06 May 2020INSPIRED BY STONEHENGE
03 June 2020AUGUST RODIN AND 19th CENTURY SCULPTURE
02 September 2020BETTY JOEL: GLAMOUR AND INNOVATION IN 1930s FURNITURE DESIGN
07 October 2020THE STUNNERS: THE PRIVATE LIVES OF THE PRE-RAPHAELITES
04 November 2020CAVE PAINTINGS AND PRE-HISTORIC CARVINGS
02 December 2020PORTRAITS IN STONE: THE GREAT CATHEDRALS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND
03 February 2021HOW DO GARDEN HISTORIANS RESEARCH GARDEN HISTORY?

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TOSCA IN ROME (followed by the AGM) Simon Rees Wednesday 05 February 2020

Lecture starts at 2.15 pm

 

This lecture will be followed by the (short) AGM, an opportunity to learn a little more about your society.

Puccini based his opera Tosca, premiered in 1900 and set in 1800, on a melodrama by the French playwright Victorien Sardou which was originally written as a vehicle for Sarah Bernhardt. Tosca is set in Rome, with three specific locations for its three acts: the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, the Palazzo Farnese, and the Castel Sant’Angelo. This lecture follows the story of Tosca from the church where her lover, the painter Cavaradossi, is painting a picture of Mary Magdalene, modelling it on Tosca’s rival, the Countess Attavanti; to the Palazzo Farnese, where the infamous Baron Scarpia, chief of police, has his office and torture chamber; and finally to the parapet of the Castel Sant’ Angelo, where Cavaradossi is to be shot at dawn. Both Sardou and Puccini paid meticulous attention to the architectural details of each of these important Roman monuments, which can be visited during the course of a morning’s stroll. 

Simon studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. Taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. Now a freelance writer and lecturer, lectures widely on opera, art history and literature, travelling extensively with travel companies. Has published several novels, including the award-winning The Devil's Looking-Glass, poems and opera librettos.

Simon Rees, formerly dramaturg at Welsh National Opera, has worked on several productions of Puccini’s Tosca, and illustrates his lecture with musical examples and with photographs of the buildings, and of the costumes and sets which the opera has inspired.