30 September 2022 to 5 February 2023
Opera combines several forms of art (music, singing, acting, dance) and artisanry (costume, stage, lighting) to create a spectacular gesamtkunstwerk. It transcends the boundaries of reality, thrives on dramatic extremes, the magical and the irrational and, as an event, is as unique as it is ephemeral. Starting from the beginnings of opera in Italy, our exhibition stages a kaleidoscopic panorama of different forms of opera. It presents the baroque spectacles at the courts of Europe and explores the diversity of commercial venues in 17th century Venice.
Drawing on the example of famous opera houses such as La Scala in Milan, the Vienna State Opera or the New York Met, it traces the growth and change of the institution in the 19th and 20th century and sheds light on the people who come together to cast their vision in the sumptuous form that the audience gets to see and hear.
A selection of paintings and costumes, posters and stage design models, caricatures and programmes – complemented by recordings of numerous operas – tells known and unknown stories of a genre and an institution that is constantly reinventing itself.
To the exhibition: The Opera – Bundeskunsthalle Bonn