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Past Events > 2020


20. Voltaire, Rousseau and the Enlightenment

13 October 2020, 15:00 - 16:00



Please note that due to a technical issue the scheduled streaming of this event was delayed. The film is now available in the Digital Concert Hall to ticket holders, and Suzanne Aspden and Nicholas Cronk will conduct a live Q&A here on Friday 16 October at midday. The Q&A film is just underneath the main Livestream window in the Digital Concert Hall (and at the bottom of this page).

Presented in association with TORCH, with support from the Humanities Cultural Programme, the Voltaire Foundation, and The Queen’s College

Several events this year explore the Age of Enlightenment, asking what it signified for composers and poets in song. Nicholas Cronk, Director of the Voltaire Foundation, introduces Voltaire and Rousseau, two key Enlightenment figures. We are delighted to present this from the stunning Upper Library in Queen’s College, one of Oxford’s great libraries, built between 1692 and 1695.

In Rousseau, we find not only philosopher but also both poet and composer, and this is a rare opportunity to hear some of his own songs. Rousseau was a well-known composer in his own day (Beethoven arranged an aria from his opera Le Devin du village) and wrote many songs. These were collected in a volume compiled in 1781, three years after his death, in a collection entitled Les consolations des misères de ma vie.

Voltaire appears in song primarily via a translation into Russian of his poem ‘À Madame la Princesse Ulrique de Prusse’ by Pushkin. We hear four settings of this poem by Cui, Glazunov, Arensky and Rimsky-Korsakov.

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY


LIVE Q&A: FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER, 12PM

As this event was not shown at its announced time due to a technical problem, Suzanne Aspden and Nicholas Cronk will be conducting the live Q&A here at midday on Friday 16 October. Please send any questions for Suzanne and Nicholas to [email protected]


Programme


Artist Portrait

Nicholas Cronk

Nicholas Cronk

Speaker

Nicholas Cronk is Professor of European Enlightenment Studies at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Voltaire Foundation. He is particularly interested in literature and culture of eighteenth-century France, and has written widely on Voltaire, including Voltaire: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2017). He is general editor of the Complete works of Voltaire, and president of the Société des études voltairiennes at the Sorbonne. He is at present working on the problems of Voltaire’s correspondence and on a c... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Suzanne Aspden

Suzanne Aspden

Speaker

Suzanne Aspden’s research centres on 18th-century opera and dramatic music, and on the ways in which this music facilitates the expression of identity, whether national, personal, or dramatic. Seeing identity as performative inevitably requires detailed historical contextualisation and analysis of performance aesthetics of the period. Suzanne’s publications manifest these interests in varying ways; her recent monograph, The Rival Sirens: Performance and Identity on Handel’s Operatic Stage (Cambridge, 2013) brings them tog... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Charlotte La Thrope

Charlotte La Thrope

Soprano

English soprano Charlotte La Thrope graduated with first class honours in Music from the University of Durham, majoring in performance, and receiving ‘The Most Outstanding Soloist Award' in her final year. She then studied on the Masters course at Royal Academy of Music and graduated in 2018 with distinction.​ Charlotte performs regularly across the world as a soloist and most recently performed the role of ‘Filia’ in Carissimi’s Jephte with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, The English Baroque Soloists and the Montever... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Nathaniel Mander

Nathaniel Mander

Harpsichordist

Nathaniel Mander is one of the most exciting early keyboard players to emerge on the scene in recent years. Known for his expressive and virtuosic performances, he pursues an international career performing as harpsichordist and fortepianist. At a young age Nathaniel was entranced by the unique sound of the harpsichord and was inspired to take up the instrument. He began his education with Richard Lester in Cirencester, where he also gave his first recitals. In 2007 Nathaniel moved to London to train at the Royal Academy of Music with Car... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Oliver Johnston

Oliver Johnston

Tenor

A graduate from the Royal Academy of Music, Oliver Johnston has appeared as Stroh, Intermezzo and Fenton, Falstaff for Garsington Opera, 2nd Nazarene for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits, Levko, May Night for the Royal Academy of Music, Narraboth, Salome and Novice, Billy Budd for Opera North and the Aldeburgh Festival, a staged version of Handel’s Messiah with the Opéra and Ballet National de Bordeaux, Vaughan-Williams’ Serenade to Music under Vladimir Jurowski with the London Philharmonic Orchestr... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Natalie Burch

Natalie Burch

Pianist

An alumna of Chetham’s School of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Natalie Burch is widely in demand as a collaborative pianist across London and the UK. She won the accompaniment prize at the 2015 Maureen Lehane Awards at Wigmore Hall, was a finalist alongside 2nd Prize winner James Way at the 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and is a 2018 Britten-Pears, Leeds Lieder and Samling Artist. Much in demand as a song specialist she regularly collaborates with a number of award-winning artists. Recent and future projects incl... Read Full Biography

This event is part of a series:

Connections Across Time - A Brief History of Song

Over a packed eight days, world-class artists including Benjamin Appl, Ian Bostridge, Sarah Connolly and Roderick Williams will present some 40 concerts and events, from venues across Oxford and completely live. From the comfort of your own home, you will be able to enjoy these concerts live-streamed in the highest quality. We’ll be exploring every possible advantage of this temporary ...

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