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Opera Insights Series

The Opera Insights Series is a series of free lectures for the community by San Diego's opera scholars, with enlightening and entertaining presentations that focus on productions in San Diego Opera's upcoming season and more. We are celebrating the 65th season of the Opera Insights Series in 2020-2021!

SD Opera Presents

Gioachino Rossini: The Man, The Music, The Food!

San Diego Opera is pleased to share its four-part Zoom lecture series with San Diego Public Library patrons! These free lectures tie into their upcoming production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.
Text and image courtesy of SD Opera.
SD Opera graphic of Gioachino Rossini
In April 2021, San Diego Opera took a deep dive into the great composer’s life with four Zoom sessions led by Dr. Nic! See below for a description of each lecture and a link to the recording, uploaded on SDO's YouTube page.
Rossini’s Early Life and Times (Recorded on April 7, 2021)
Think of Gioachino Rossini as the Andrew Lloyd Webber of his time...he came to know what his audiences really wanted and how to get them to clamor for more! To truly understand how Rossini became the most successful (and the wealthiest!) composer of his time, Dr. Nic will take us through some of the important trends in art and culture that surrounded him when he was just getting started...as a child, an itinerant opera coach, as a music student...and see how his life was influenced by it all. We'll look at Rossini during a time of extraordinary development in music, art, literature and politics, and how his life and works were at the center of it all.
Rossini and the Mezzo-Soprano (Recorded on April 14, 2021)
One of the more interesting aspects of Rossini’s operas is that he often featured the contralto or mezzo-soprano in music of sparkling quality. We think of Rosina in Barber, of course, as well as Angelina in La Cenerentola and Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri. In today’s session, Dr. Nic will survey some of the delightful arias from this vocal repertoire which include feats of acrobatic coloratura that has to be heard to be believed!
The Barber of Seville (Recorded on April 21, 2021)
In today’s session we’ll examine some of the highlights of Rossini’s greatest comic opera, The Barber of Seville. Using video examples and presiding at the piano, Dr. Nic will show us what it is about this delightful comedy that keeps us coming back to it. Comedy in music is extraordinarily difficult, but Rossini made it seem easy. Today we’ll examine why that’s so, and here’s a hint: it’s all in the timing. The combination of rhythmic drive, sparkling melodies and comic timing make Barber one of the great musical comedies of all time, and in this session we’ll take our time to appreciate its delights!
Rossini the Gourmand! (Recorded on April 28, 2021)
“I know of no more admirable occupation than eating, that is really eating!” Rossini was a man who truly loved food and as his success and pocketbook grew, he saw to it that he was surrounded by the finest culinary inventions of the day. He made it a point to befriend one of the earliest ‘celebrity’ chefs, Marie-Antoine Carême, creator of Tournedos Rossini in honor of the composer. In today’s session, Dr. Nic will introduce us to a few of the numerous recipes created in honor of the composer, beginning with the Rossini cocktail which will kick off our time together!
SDPL staff have compiled a sampling of resources in our collection relating to Rossini, The Barber of Seville, and singers mentioned in Dr. Nic's lectures, and you can view that list and place holds here.

San Diego Opera's 2020-2021 Season

We look forward to scheduling live lectures again in the future. Until then, please enjoy these videos of lectures created by San Diego Opera for previous productions of La Bohème, All is Calm, and The Barber of Seville. These lectures are a great way to learn about an opera for the first time, or to preview before attending the SD Opera production.
La Boheme graphic by SD Opera
Composed by Giacomo Puccini (from UCSD-TV’s website)
Image courtesy of San Diego Opera
All is Calm graphic by SD Opera
A preview of SD Opera’s 2018 production (from the KPBS website)
Image courtesy of San Diego Opera
The Barber of Seville graphic by SD Opera
Composed by Gioachino Rossini (from UCSD-TV’s website)
Image courtesy of San Diego Opera
If you would like opera CDs, DVDs, libretti, or scores, please visit SDPL’s online catalog to search and place holds for pick-up, or give us a call Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:30 (619-236-5800) and we’ll help you find what you need.
SDPL staff have compiled a list of items in our collection for the SD Opera’s 2020-21 season, and you can view that list and place holds here.

Previous Lectures

We are honored to have strong partnerships with arts and education organizations in our community, and thanks to our collaborations with San Diego Opera and UC San Diego, we have recordings of four of our Opera Insights Series programs from 2016-2019. Please see below for programs filmed by UCSD-TV in our Neil Morgan Auditorium.
The Central Park Five with Composer Anthony Davis
Recorded on December 7, 2019
Presented by UC San Diego Extension in partnership with the Opera Insights Series.

Double Verdi (La Traviata and Falstaff)
Opera Insights Series/San Diego OperaTalk, recorded on January 6, 2017

David T. Little's Soldier Songs
Opera Insights Series/San Diego OperaTalk, recorded on October 4, 2016

Puccini X 2 (Madama Butterfly and Tosca)
Opera Insights Series/San Diego OperaTalk, recorded on February 5, 2016

About the Lecturer

Nicolas M. Reveles, San Diego Opera’s Director of Education and Community Engagement.Composer, pianist, arts educator, and Principal San Diego Opera Lecturer Dr. Nicolas Reveles is widely known throughout Southern California, introducing countless numbers of people to this lively art form.

About the Opera Insights Series

The Opera Insights Series prepares opera goers with enjoyable, informative, and engaging sessions about productions in San Diego Opera’s current season. The lectures will be held at the San Diego Central Library in the Neil Morgan Auditorium, located at 330 Park Boulevard, in downtown San Diego.

For more information about the lectures, call the Central Library at 619-236-5800 or visit the Library’s website. For more information about the productions and other San Diego Opera outreach activities, visit the San Diego Opera’s website.

Funding has been provided by California Humanities and the State of California through the California State Library.