A Flapper's Guide To The Opera

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20171022

Alexandra Wilson takes a flapper's journey back to 1920s operatic London.

Opera Historian Dr Alexandra Wilson dons her cloche hat and steps into the shoes of a flapper for a journey back to 1920s London. Jazz was the new fad imported for America, dance clubs were taking the city by storm and cinemas were popping up on every corner. But what was the place of opera in this new entertainment world? Based on new research, this feature will guide listeners around the heady operatic world of 1920s London to some of the venues where opera was thriving, including music halls, cafes and schools. This was a time when opera was not 'elite', and rich and poor rubbed shoulders at the opera, just as opera itself interacted in fascinating ways with jazz, music hall, and celebrity culture.

With contributions from modern-day performers and historians, alongside comments from 1920s' critics, conductors and audience members, Wilson challenges the idea that the interwar period was an operatic wasteland, sandwiched between the Edwardian 'golden age' and the emergence of a subsidised operatic establishment after World War Two. Opera was very much alive in the 1920s, and hugely diverse - a People's opera.

Producer - Ellie Mant.