Since the first performance of the first opera in 1600, operas have been telling stories from myth and history. Brought to life with over 250 colour illustrations, this book charts a comprehensive chronology of myth and history as told in opera.
Why were particular myths and historical events important at particular times? Why were the same myths and historical events told in radically different ways? In answering these questions, this book charts how the modern West migrated from autocracy towards liberal democracy, from theocratic absolutism towards tolerant pluralism, from sexism towards gender equality. It traces growing scepticism about religiously inspired warfare and colonial empire building.
Unlike anything previously published, this is an enjoyable book for lovers of history and the arts. It’s a compelling read for anyone interested in how the western world of today came into being. By exploring a bewitchingly beautiful art form this book tells a gripping story about the political, religious and social revolutions that created the modern West we live in today.
Opera is sometimes dismissed as elitist. But it is precisely because opera was attended by the elite that it helped the West to become more tolerant, more broad-minded, more democratic, more global, more pluralist.