Dorset - How Opera Works

Dorset - How Opera Works

Dorset - How Opera Works
Thursday 26 May 2022, 10.30am to 3.00pm BST
Thursday 26 May 2022, 10.30am to 3.00pm BST
  • Opera hall

Image By Jaakko H., CC BY-SA 3.0,

Image By Jaakko H., CC BY-SA 3.0,

Hosted by Cambridge Society of Dorset
Open to: 
Public (open to all)
The Green Man | View details

Adrian Thorpe (Christ’s, m. 1961) has been an opera-lover ever since, as a child, he was taken to an amateur performance of Hänsel und Gretel at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. He is especially interested in the historical, economic, political and social context which influenced the writing of individual works ever since opera was invented by a group of amateurs in Florence in 1597 – and also the practical considerations of how theatres functioned, how performers worked and were paid, and how audiences behaved. In retirement he supports Dorset Opera by giving illustrated lectures on operatic themes at their “Bluffers’ Lunches”, and sometimes writes the notes for the programme of their annual opera festival.

In this lecture he hopes to show how operas work as dramatic presentations: how musical passages acquire special meanings reinforcing and enriching the drama in a way that a spoken play on its own cannot. “Opera is the only dramatic form (he says) which can show you at the same time not only what the characters are saying and doing, but also what they are thinking and feeling – even if they haven’t yet fully understood that they are thinking and feeling it.” The talk will be illustrated with subtitled video excerpts from live performances. He hopes it will intrigue those who know little of opera, while entertaining those who already know all about it. 

Booking information


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The Green Man
Kings Stag
Sturminster Newton
DT10 2AY
United Kingdom
Location information: 

The Green Man in King’s Stag dates to the 17th Century, and the owner’s family can trace their family tree in Stock Gaylard, just a mile away, back to the 15th Century.


The pub is mostly on the level, but there are a few internal steps to the room. Toilets are on the same level as the meeting room. There is wheelchair access to the meeting room if required.