The evening will begin with a private drinks reception at the V&A’s new Exhibition Road Quarter, with an introductory talk to the exhibition from the curator Kate Bailey. You will then be free to see the exhibition out of hours - without the general public - wearing headphones that dynamically change when roaming through the exhibition space, allowing you to immerse yourself in 400 years of opera.
The exhibition, in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, tells the vivid story of opera on a grand scale. From the birth of opera in late-Renaissance Italy through to its international explosion in the 20th and 21st centuries. The exhibition takes visitors on an immersive, audio visual journey through seven opera premiers in seven European cities from Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea in Venice through to Shoshtakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in St Petersburg. It features more than 300 extraordinary objects, including Mozart’s piano for the Marriage of Figaro display; the original score of Verdi’s Nabucco; and Salvador Dali’s costume designs for Richard Strauss’s Salome.
Guests will discover how the creation of opera reflects the social, political, artistic and economic conversations that define cities, and explore the complete process of making opera, from libretto to score, design to performance. Opera: Passion, Power and Politics is the inaugural exhibition in the V&A’s new Sainsbury Gallery - a new purpose-built subterranean gallery and one of the largest temporary exhibition spaces in Europe.
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Images: The Viola da Gamba Musician (Gambenspielerin) Bernardo Strozzi (1581–1644) Oil on canvas, 1630-40 Gemaldegalerie, Dresden, Germany © 2017. Photo Scala, Florence bpk.
Plácido Domingo in Nabucco, Directed by Daniele Abbado with deisgns by Alison Chitty, Courtesy of Royal Opera House, London © Catherine Ashmore.
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