European History Through The Lens Of Opera: Online Class

April 1
through May 27


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or call our Box office (631) 725-9500

European History Through The Lens Of Opera explores a selected history of Europe, from the Middle Ages through World War II, via a study of popular opera from across the continent. Operatic music has touched people’s emotions since its inception. Many composers and librettists have turned to historical events for inspiration, and to give personal color to those events with powerful music and staging.

This class, featuring operas in French, Italian, German, and Russian, will give attendees a broad overview of specific events in European history that have been immortalized in the operatic art form. History will be analyzed and illustrated by the operatic selections from the works that most accurately contribute to the telling of these stories.

  • Middle Ages (13th-Century Italy): I Vespri Sicliani

  • Middle Ages (14th-Century Spain): La Favorita

  • Middle Ages (15th-Century France): Maid of Orleans (Joan of Arc)

  • Renaissance (England): Maria Stuarda

  • Renaissance (France and Spain): Don Carlo

  • Religious Repression (17th-Century England): I Puritani

  • Religious Repression (French Revolution): Dialogues of the Carmelites

  • Napoleonic Era: Tosca

  • World War II: Kaiser von Atlantis


This class is held via Zoom on Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m. starting April 1. Registration is $200 for nine sessions; drop-in rates are available for $35 per class.


Hailed by Opera News as “delightful” and by La Rioja as “unstoppable in her brilliant singing and a true stage animal,” Ashley Galvani Bell has performed in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, and Russia. She recently made her Carnegie Hall debut as soprano soloist in Hadyn’s Nelson Mass and Schubert’s Mass in C, debuted as Mimi in La Bohème with Mississippi Opera and Natchez Festival, as Madame Butterfly with Townsend Opera in California, and with New York City Opera in L'Amore Tre Re. Other performances include Elle in a critically acclaimed performance of La Voix Humaine in the New York Opera Fest and Spain’s Rioja Forum, where she was praised for "a voice that is a landscape of unknown depths," (Opera Wire), and for her "brilliant suitability to the intense vocalism that Poulenc demands." (La Rioja). Ms. Bell is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University and speaks five languages fluently.


Anton Armendariz Diaz's directing experience began in short videos, being a finalist for the productions of Serjei and Imprudencia in the Barcelona Film Festival. He studied film direction with Eduardo Gil, and his passion for music soon led him to form the company La Rioja Lirica, where he has directed many successful productions including Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, El Barberillo de Lavapies, La Voix Humaine, La Traviata, and Las Heroinas de la Zarzuela. In the U.S., he made his New York debut directing Elisir D ́Amore for Divaria Productions, subsequently presented a successful bilingual version of the zarzuela La Dolorosa for International Women ́s Day, and directed the first opera ever presented at Bay Street Theatre, returning for six seasons.

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