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Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne Tour 2016

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mk-galleryDr Christopher Wiley has delivered two pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne Tour 2016, to preface its productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, on 8 and 9 November, respectively.

Both talks were delivered at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes prior to performances at the nearby Milton Keynes Theatre. Speaking to some 60 audience members, Dr Wiley introduced the plots and characters of the operas, their historical backgrounds, noteworthy features of the music (such as Puccini’s use of authentic Japanese tunes in the score of Madama Butterfly), and aspects of the interpretations taken by Glyndebourne’s productions.

Dr Wiley has previously given pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne in 2014 and 2015, but this is the first time that he has been invited to speak at Milton Keynes.

Update: Dr Wiley reprised his pre-performance talk on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly to some 60 opera-goers in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking on 30 November, by way of introduction to Glyndebourne’s production later that evening in the adjacent New Victoria Theatre.

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Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2015

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley delivered a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2015, as a prelude to its production of Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, the tour’s final venue, on 1 December 2015.

Dr Wiley’s talk was held in the adjacent Rhoda McGaw Theatre, which was at capacity with some 200 opera-goers in attendance. Over the course of half an hour, Dr Wiley discussed the historical context of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, its extensive use of spoken dialogue, the virtuosic nature of some of its vocal writing, its orchestration and its portrayal of the East, as well as exploring aspects of Glyndebourne’s critically-acclaimed production.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which Mozart composed in 1781–2, holds a special place in Glyndebourne’s history: it was the work that brought its founder, John Christie, into contact with the soprano Audrey Mildmay, whom he subsequently married and who inspired the Glyndebourne Festival. This year’s production was the company’s seventh of the opera in its 80-year history.

The invitation for Dr Wiley to deliver this talk followed the success of his pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour in October 2014 on another Mozart opera, La finta giardiniera, and was similarly well-received.

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2014

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley has given a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2014, to preface its production of Mozart’s opera La finta giardiniera in the New Victoria Theatre, Woking on 28 October 2014.

Speaking to an audience of over 100 opera-goers in the adjacent Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Dr Wiley endeavoured to enhance the audience’s experience and enjoyment of the evening’s performance by providing some contextual knowledge of the opera.

In the course of the half-hour talk, Dr Wiley explored the plot of La finta giardiniera, its historical background, and its significance within Mozart’s output, as well as drawing attention to noteworthy musical features and key aspects of Glyndebourne’s performance.

Mozart composed the score to his comic opera La finta giardiniera in 1774, at the age of 18. Glyndebourne’s acclaimed 2014 production was its first ever of this work.