Past events

Love, Death and Damnation: the language of Italian Opera

Rosalba Lo Duca (left), Annette Saunders at the piano and soprano singer Maribeth Diggle (right)

In this photo: Rosalba Lo Duca (left), Annette Saunders at the piano and soprano singer Maribeth Diggle (right) 

Love, Death and Damnation was a talk held at Opera North on 12th October 2012. The talk focused on the language of Italian opera and was delivered by the language coach Rosalba Lo Duca. It was followed by the staging of the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart. The talk by Rosalba Lo Duca, designed for students of Italian at the University of Leeds, explored Mozart's Don Giovanni linguistic features. American soprano singer Maribeth Diggle, who played the role of Donna Elvira in the production of Don Giovanni, took part in the rehearsal.

The event was organised in association with DARE: the Pioneering Collaboration between Opera North and the University of Leeds 


"We both thoroughly enjoyed it and are definitely planning on going again if and when we can. I thought the session before the opera was fantastic and I'm very grateful to have been allowed to be present during such a personal moment. I found it very interesting to see how precise you have to be and how much work goes into each line of every aria. I was very impressed with the accent and level of Italian in the session and throughout the performance. The only thing we weren't as keen on was the modern costumes in the Opera but I think that's a matter of personal opinion on how Opera's ought to be performed (traditional vs. modern take). It has definitely opened my eyes to Opera although when I go again, like this time, I will make sure I know the story first as it makes it a lot easier to keep up! Thank you for making the opportunity available to us I hope my quick email has been of some use. And a big thanks to any others who helped organise the evening. Thanks."

Charlie and Imogen, UG students, level 3

In my opinion, the talk followed by the staging of the opera 'Don Giovanni' was a beautiful, complete and successful initiative! The thing that I appreciated most was seeing Rosalba and Maribeth giving us a practical demonstration of everyday work. I was extremely fascinated by interpretative choices made at every single sentence, the kindness of Maribeth and Rosalba and their desire to share with us their great passion for art (Italian language, culture and music). I believe that this kind of initiative helps us to approach the opera without our habitual preconceptions which prevent us from enjoying the performance. Thanks to this talk we discovered the beautiful world 'behind the stage'. As a result, I was more motivated to see the opera and I felt more involved (because I was aware of the beauty of opera) than in the past. I hope this was a shared feeling. I encourage you to rerun this event. Suggestions? In my opinion, it would be very interesting listening a speech from the opera director.

Silvia, PhD student

I really enjoyed the Don Giovanni by Mozart that we watched last Friday at Opera North. I liked the actors' interpretation (especially their Italian pronunciation) as well as the ironic reinterpretation of Don Giovanni in Grease-style! Nevertheless, the most interesting part for me has been Rosalba's lesson: she introduced me to an unknown world! Fantastic! I wish we could repeat this experience as soon as possible! I also think it could be interesting to introduce a selection of the Italian prose theatre, as Goldoni, Machiavelli and Pirandello's works, because I think it could be interesting for students to know Italian theatre, even if it is proposed in English translation.

Ilaria, Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow