Home » Exhibitions » Opera: Passion, Power and Politics at the Victoria and Albert Museum – 30th September 2017 to 25th February 2018

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics at the Victoria and Albert Museum – 30th September 2017 to 25th February 2018

The Victoria and Albert Museum, in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, will create a wonderful journey through nearly 400 years of opera, exploring its passion, power and politics.

The exhibition will be one of the first to explore opera on a grand scale, it will immerse visitors in some key moments of the history of European opera from its roots in Renaissance Italy to its present-day form, by focusing on seven operatic premieres in seven cities. It will reveal how opera brings together multiple art forms to create a multi-sensory work of art, and show how social, political, artistic and economic factors interact with great moments in the history of opera to tell a story of Europe over hundreds of years.

More than 300 extraordinary objects, including important international loans, will be shown alongside digital footage of compelling opera performances. Objects on display include Salvador Dali’s costume design for Peter Brook’s 1949 production of Salome; Music in the Tuileries Gardens by Edouard Manet, the original score of Verdi’s Nabucco from the Archivio Storico Ricordi in Milan; and one of two surviving scores from the first public opera (L’incoronazione di Poppea) will be on display. Original material from the 1934 St Petersburg premiere of Shostakovich’s avant-garde Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk will be reunited and displayed outside Russia for the first time: these include the composer’s original autograph score, along with stage directions, libretto, set models and costume designs.

World-leading opera performances will be played via headphones, dynamically changing as you explore the cities and objects, to create an evocative and fully immersive sound experience. The exhibition will include a powerful new recording of the Royal Opera Chorus singing ‘Va pensiero’ (the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco, experienced in a 360-degree sound installation.

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics will be the first exhibition staged in the V&A’s purpose-built Sainsbury Gallery, one of the largest exhibition spaces in Europe.

If you would like further information or book  tickets, visit the V and A website here

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