Ahead of your visit in the summer, discover more about this season's operas with our series of Insight Talks combining historical context from leading scholars and musical excerpts performed by singers on the Garsington Opera Alvarez Young Artists' Programme.

Mitridate, re di Ponto

Tuesday 18 April 2023, 7pm
Royal Academy of Music, London
Speaker: Sarah Lenton

Mitridate is in trouble – his Empire is surrounded by the Romans, he’s lost another battle, his sons hate each other and his fiancée hates him… Mozart was only 14 when he wrote this opera and gives his cast music of dazzling complexity as they clash together on stage. Unpacking this glorious mix of passion, virtuosity and teenage genius will be Sarah Lenton. Sarah writes programme articles and gives lectures for the Royal Opera House, Garsington Opera, English National Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. She also broadcasts for Radio 3 on their live opera relays.

Il barbiere di Siviglia

Tuesday 25 April 2023, 7pm
Wolfson College, Oxford
Speaker: Sarah Lenton

We’re in Seville – colourful, picturesque – a wonderful place, with a twist. The men are obvious, enjoying themselves in the street, while the women appear to be locked away indoors. Enter Rosina! Young, pretty, high spirited and – crucially – a mezzo with a fine coloratura. No locked door or barred window stands a chance! Taking us through Rossini’s exuberant comedy will be Sarah Lenton.

Ariadne auf Naxos

Tuesday 2 May 2023, 7pm
Wolfson College, Oxford
Speaker: Michael White

Ariadne auf Naxos is one of those operas where the art-form puts a mirror to itself - acknowledging the quirks and craziness but also the potential to transcend it all through music of disarming power and beauty. It’s a complex piece with an unusually complicated history. But to guide you through it we have opera expert Michael White who has been chief music critic at the Independent, a regular contributor to the Guardian, Telegraph and New York Times, and a broadcaster for the BBC. Once voted Britain’s least boring critic by listeners to Classic FM (an accolade of sorts), he has presented long-running Radio 3 series like Opera in Action. His books include Opera & Operetta (Collins) and Introducing Wagner (Icon). And whatever he does or doesn’t know about Richard Strauss, he once had an international scoop breaking the story of the soprano contracted to sing Ariadne but then dropped - because she couldn’t fit into a little black dress.

All Insight Talks cost £15 and start at 7pm

Guests are invited to enjoy a glass of wine with us half an hour beforehand. The illustrated talks last approximately one hour.