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Puppetry in opera

Director and musician Thomas Guthrie explains the history of the use of puppets in opera, arguing that puppets are still powerful tools with which to tell operatic stories today.

Musician and director Thomas Guthrie explains the history of the use of puppets in Baroque and Classical opera, arguing that puppets are still powerful tools with which to tell operatic stories today. That moment when the audience suspends disbelief and believes that what they know to be inanimate is a living and breathing character – that magical moment – is also when their ears open, and the music can make its full impact.

Image of Thomas Guthrie courtesy of Theresa Pewal.

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34 minutes

Music Played

  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Toccata [L'Orfeo]

    Orchestra: Le Concert d’Astrée. Conductor: Emmanuelle Haïm.
    • VIRGIN.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Prologo [L'Orfeo] (excerpt)

    Ensemble: I Fagiolini. Director: Robert Hollingworth.
    • CHACONNE.
  • Luigi Rossi

    Prologo [L'Orfeo]

    Orchestra: Les Arts Florissants. Conductor: William Christie.
    • HARMONIA MUNDI.
  • Orazio Vecchi

    Pierulin dove'stu? [L'Amfiparnaso]

    Ensemble: Ensemble Clément Janequin. Director: Dominique Visse.
    • HARMONIA MUNDI.
  • Henry Purcell

    Ye twice ten hundred deities [The Indian Queen]

    Singer: Gerald Finley. Director: Christopher Hogwood. Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music.
    • L’Oiseau Lyre.
  • Henry Purcell

    See I obey / Turn thine eyes / My torch indeed [The Fairy Queen]

    Singer: Michael Schopper. Director: Ton Koopman. Orchestra: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Singer: Catherine Bott. Singer: Els Bongers.
    • ERATO.
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck

    Che faro senza Eurydice [Orpheus ed Eurydice] (excerpt)

    Singer: Philippe Jaroussky. Director: Diego Fasolis. Orchestra: I Barocchisti.
    • ERATO.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Dir der unschuld Seligkeit [Philemon et Baucis]

    Orchestra: Haydn Sinfonietta Wien. Conductor: Manfred Huss. Singer: Alexandra Reinprecht.
    • BIS.
  • Traditional Balinese

    Rebong, scene de seduction, quatour de Metallophones Gender Wayang

    Ensemble: Wayang Parwa, Theatre de Marionettes Mahabharata.
    • Buda Musique.
  • Zbigniew Preisner

    Les Marionettes [The Double Life of Veronique, soundtrack] (excerpt)

    • SIDERAL.
  • Henry Purcell

    Dido's Lament [Dido & Aeneas]

    Orchestra: Les Arts Florissants. Conductor: William Christie. Singer: Guillemette Laurens.
    • HARMONIA MUNDI.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Pa-pa-pa [Die Zauberflote] (excerpt)

    Singer: Daniel Schmutzhard. Conductor: René Jacobs. Orchestra: Academy for Ancient Music Berlin. Singer: Sunhae Im.
    • HARMONIA MUNDI.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Vi ricorda,o boschi ombrosi [L'Orfeo]

    Ensemble: Lautten Compagney. Conductor: Wolfgang Katschner. Singer: Kobie van Rensburg.
    • NCA.

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