Past Exhibition Ran from 30 September 2017 to 25 February 2018

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics

Together the V&A and the Royal Opera House present a landmark exhibition exploring a vivid story of opera from its origins in late-Renaissance Italy to the present day

It’s a remarkable achievement that ultimately has the potential to change the way you think.

The Guardian

The V&A’s spectacular new show has something for opera snobs, opera virgins and all shades between.

The Times

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics is devoted to a richly complex passage in European cultural history. Dramatically lit, boldly theatrical and graphically vivid.

The Telegraph

Throughout, you’re hearing sounds so beautiful that it’s a wrench to leave one historic moment and enter another. You want to stick with what you’re hearing. What drives you on is curiosity to see what the clever organisers have come up with next.

Evening Standard

This exhibition is now closed at V&A South Kensington

Told through the lens of seven premieres in seven European cities, this immersive exhibition takes you on a journey through nearly 400 years, culminating in the international explosion of opera in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Sponsored by

Global banking group Societe Generale is delighted to be building on its long-term partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum as lead sponsor of its major exhibition for 2017, Opera: Passion, Power and Politics in collaboration with the Royal Opera House. With the ambition of bringing classical music beyond its traditional audiences, Societe Generale has established itself as a key player in the musical world, celebrating 30 years of support in 2017.

In collaboration with

Exhibition Highlights

The Ballet Scene from Meyerbeer's Opera Robert Le Diable, oil painting, Edgar Degas, 1876, France. Museum no. CAI.19. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Nadja Michael as Salome, photograph by Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images, 2008, Royal Opera House, London. © Robbie Jack – Corbis/Corbis Entertainmen/Getty Images
George Frideric Handel, terracota, Louis Francois Roubiliac, 18th century, England. Museum no. M.3-1922. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge
'Milano' from the series 'Fratelli d’Italia’, Matthias Schaller, 2005 – 2016. © Matthias Schaller
Draft of part of Cherubino’s Act I aria ‘Non so più cosa son’ (K492, no. 6), autograph score, Wolfgang A. Mozart, 1786. British Library, Zweig MS 57. © British Library, London, UK / Bridgeman Images
A Box at the Theatre
A Box at the Theatre des Italiens, Eva Gonzalès, oil painting, 1874, France. © Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
Music in the Tuileries Garden, oil painting, Edouard Manet, 1861 – 62. National Gallery NG3260. © The National Gallery, London/Scala, Florence
The Viola da Gamba Musician, oil painting, Bernardo Strozzi, 1630 – 40, Germany. © 2017. Photo Scala, Florence/bpk, Bildagentur fuer Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte, Berlin
View of Venice, print, Frederick de Wit, Netherlands. Museum no. E.1539-1900. . © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Barbara Hannigan in Written on Skin, Katie Mitchell (Director), Vicki Mortimer (designer), 2012. © ROH/Stephen Cummiskey
Ensemble in 'Spaceship' at the dress rehearsal of Einstein on the Beach, Philip Glass in collaboration with Robert Wilson, 2013, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. © Lawrence K. Ho/ Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Politbureau ZKVKP (B) (Central Committee of the All Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), poster, Gustav Klutsis, 1935, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Museum no. E.1267-1989. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Shostakovich's First Symphony, oil painting, Pavel Filonov, 1935, Russia. © State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow / Bridgeman Images
Panel with Queen Anne wax and paper figure, 1705 – 1710, England. Museum no. W.25-1955. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Past Events


Opera: Passion, Power and Politics
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