Ross’ second four part series of Opera lectures, ‘Opera and the Four Elements’ will begin on Thursday 11th November – details below:
The 5th century BC Greek philosopher Empedocles originated the Western cosmogonic theory of the four classical elements which make all the structures in the universe: fire, water, earth and air.
According to the different proportions in which these four indestructible and unchangeable elements are combined with each other, the difference of the structure is produced – a theory that became the cornerstone of philosophy, science, and medicine (Hippocrates’ four humours or temperaments) for the next two thousand years (to be displaced by atomic theory).Life could not possibly flourish or sustain itself without each of these elements: the warming heat of the sun, the nourishing earth beneath our feet, the vital air we breathe and the replenishing water we drink are essential to our existence, although these elements can also be huge destructive forces.
“Opera and the Four Elements” is a four-part series focusing on elemental forces in full musical flow: from the funeral pyres of Dido, Norma and Brünnhilde, to the river Rhine and lashings of wine, to the Nibelungs hammering out the gold and arias about jewels (Faust and Tales of Hoffmann), to gentle zephyrs rising to Rossinian storms.
11th November: Fire
18th November Water
25th November: Earth
2nd December: Air
Please contact the Avenue Club Office for more information or to book your place.
Ross Alley was, for many years, a music lecturer at Birkbeck College (University of London). He has also given numerous guest lectures for the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Wigmore Hall, the Wagner Society, the Gustav Mahler Society, and NADFAS.