Stories That Sing [The Essay]

Episodes

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David Threlfall2017101820190130 (R3)

As part of the BBC's Opera season, five creative individuals examine their own encounters with opera. These personal essays reveal the variety of ways in which opera can seduce, fascinate, baffle, frustrate and excite.

David Threlfall saw his first opera - Zeffirelli's production of La Boheme - in New York in 1980. Since then his relationship with the art-form has suffered a few disappointments.

David Threlfall is one of Britain's most admired and versatile character actors. In 1980 he played the role of Smike in the Royal Shakespeare Company's eight-hour stage version of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, in both London and New York. He has gone on to play a huge range of roles on stage and in film. His most notable television role was as Frank Gallagher in Paul Abbott's Channel 4 drama Shameless which ran from 2004 to 2013. He is next on screen in the BBC/Netflix drama Troy - Fall of a City, in which he plays King Priam.

Actor David Threlfall ponders his ambivalent responses to opera.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Garth Greenwell2017102020190201 (R3)

In an attempt to demystify this huge and multifaceted genre, five creative individuals examine their own encounters with opera. These personal essays reveal the variety of ways in which opera can seduce, fascinate, baffle, frustrate and excite, as well as its potential powers of healing and redemption.

Garth Greenwell is a poet, critic and educator. His first novel, What Belongs to You, was published in 2016. He lives and works in Iowa City.

Written and read by Garth Greenwell
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company Production for BBC Radio 3.

The journey of an awkward teenager in Kentucky towards opera and literature.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Julian Barnes: Opera - Coming To It Late2017101620190128 (R3)

Frustratingly banal plots and often incomprehensible lyrics meant that for much of his listening life Julian Barnes had 'a serious problem with opera'. Then all that changed.

In an attempt to demystify this huge and multifaceted genre for the BBC's Opera season, five creative individuals examine their own encounters with opera, as an art form and as a life-enhancing and sometimes life-changing emotional experience. These personal essays reveal the variety of ways in which opera can seduce, fascinate, bore, frustrate and excite.

Opera - Coming to it Late, written and read by Julian Barnes
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company Production for BBC Radio 3.

Opera used to baffle Julian Barnes, then something happened and everything changed.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Patricia Duncker: How I Fell In Love With Opera2017101720190129 (R3)

In an attempt to demystify this huge and multifaceted genre, five creative individuals examine their own encounters with opera. These personal essays reveal the variety of ways in which opera can seduce, fascinate, baffle, frustrate and excite.

In the second essay in the series, academic and novelist Patricia Duncker examines the dangerous and seductive ways in which opera can overwhelm the senses. In particular she discusses the power of Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice.

Patricia Duncker is the author of five novels including James Miranda Barry and Hallucinating Foucault. Her most recent academic position was as Professor of Contemporary Literature in the Department of English, American Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester.

How I Fell in Love with Opera, written and read by Patricia Duncker
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company Production for BBC Radio 3.

Patricia Duncker on the dangerous and seductive ways opera can overwhelm the senses.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Rachel Cooke2017101920190131 (R3)

Rachel Cooke examines the trappings that surround opera-going, and what makes it worth it.

In an attempt to demystify this huge and multifaceted genre for the BBC's Opera season, five creative individuals examine their own encounters with opera. These personal essays reveal the variety of ways in which opera can seduce, fascinate, baffle, frustrate and utterly overwhelm.

Rachel Cooke trained at The Sunday Times as a reporter and now writes for the Observer and New Statesman. Her first book, Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties was published in 2013.

Opera, written and read by Rachel Cooke
Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company Production for BBC Radio 3.

Rachel Cooke examines the trappings that surround opera-going.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond