Opera: Passion, Power and Politics

Together the V&A and the Royal Opera House present a landmark exhibition exploring a vivid story of opera from its origins in late-Renaissance Italy to the present day.

The only exhibition ever to explore opera on a grand scale, it immerses 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 reveals 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. 

Opera lovers will find their perceptions alternately challenged and renewed by what they find. Newcomers may well be startled, convinced and converted by its narrative of social relevance, immediacy and essential humanity.

The Guardian

Accompanying the exhibition, the V&A are bringing live opera to the Museum with a series of free performances, concerts and events in celebration of the the power of opera. Some of the highlights from their opera themed event season are listed below, or for a full list of events, click here.

National Opera Studio at the V&A
Every Thursday between Thursday, 28th September 2017 – Thursday, 22nd February 2018
1 – 2pm

As the result of a special partnership with the V&A, NOS Young Artists and alumni perform their own specially-curated programmes illuminating the significant operatic stages in this major exhibition.

Metta Theatre: V&A Opera Resident
8th November,  17th November,  9th December 

Visit their first Opera Residents, Metta Theatre. During their residency they will develop a new opera 'roles' exploring canonical female characters emancipated from the historically male gaze.

An evening of Opera: Kepler’s Trial
9th November

Enjoy an evening of innovative, multi-media opera from award-winning composer Tim Watts, including a thought-provoking discussion of the work and its development, led by Dame Marina Warner this will be a performance followed by a discussion with the award winning composer Tim Watts led by Dame Marina Warner

Opera Weekender
10th – 12th November 

Celebrating the critically-acclaimed exhibition Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, join the V&A for a spectacular weekend of live performances, screenings, pop-up events and fascinating talks. Most events are free and there’s something for every taste and age group, so come down and enjoy the show!

Pop Up Opera presents Hansel and Gretal 
18th – 19th November 

Pop-Up Opera is an innovative touring opera company which aims to broaden the appeal of opera and to challenge the way opera is performed, by taking it into unusual spaces and making it intimate and engaging. The company aims to reach those who are hesitant about opera, as well as dedicated opera lovers.

An Evening with Donna Leon and the Royal Opera House
27th November 

Join the celebrated novelist for an evening of discussion and opera.

Spotlight Noir - Other Opera Chronicles
1st December

Traverse through centuries of classical music as the V&A unpack hundreds of years of dismissal, challenge and triumph within opera, with Dr Onyeka Nubia, writer, law lecturer and historian, and Dr Shirley J Thompson OBE, Reader in Composition and Performance at the University of Westminster. The topics covered are Black Classics: People Of African Descent That Shaped Classical Music and The Woman Who Refused To Dance, taken from the ground-breaking series Heroines of Opera.

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics runs until Saturday 25th February 2018 and a list of event highlights can be seen here