Hop@Home: Prof Steve Swayne on Aida

Aida, the Met & Leontyne Price

Prof. Steve Swayne looks afresh at this Verdi opera
May 01

Whet your appetite for an iconic performance of this Verdi masterpiece with a live conversation with Dartmouth's own opera expert and raconteur.

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Join us for a live conversation that looks afresh at the Met's landmark production of Aida, hosted by Dartmouth musicologist Prof. Steve Swayne and students Chris Bacotti '20 and Nate Koidahl '22. Swayne is beloved for his warm, insightful teaching on opera in the classroom, at alumni events and through his popular online courses on Italian and German opera. 

Directly after the talk on Friday, the Met Opera streams a free telecast of a 1985 performance of Verdi's Aida starring Leontyne Price—the uncontested "owner" of the lead role of the Ethiopian princess—in her farewell operatic performance.

About Aida

With its cast of hundreds, thrilling score, and sweeping tale of love and heroics in ancient Egypt, Verdi's Aida has long been a fixture on the stages of every major opera house in the world. The Metropolitan Opera's January 3, 1985, production also had the distinction of being Leontyne Price's farewell operatic performance, and what an evening it was. Aida is the role that inspired audiences around the world to acclaim Price as the greatest Verdi soprano of her time. The telecast made that night shows why: the famous soaring phrases that seemed to never end, the shimmering top to her lustrous voice, undimmed by the years. But most of all, there is the ennobling heart and soul Price lavished on every performance—captured here forever. With James Levine conducting the Met orchestra, chorus, and ballet.

About Steve Swayne

The Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music at Dartmouth College and 20-plus-year member of the Dartmouth faculty, Swayne came to love opera as an adult, has been a regular opera-goer in various places he has lived (Seattle and San Francisco) and now makes regular trips to New York to see opera live. He has also seen operas live in London, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and Sydney, and he's a regular at the Hopkins Center Met Opera simulcasts.

Swayne's honors include fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and the 2017 Professor John Rassias Faculty Award, given to faculty for their exceptional educational outreach to alumni. He is the author of two books—How Sondheim Found His Sound  (University of Michigan Press, 2005) and Orpheus in Manhattan: William Schuman and the Shaping of America's Musical Life (Oxford University Press, 2011; and winner of the 2012 ASCAP Nicolas Slonimsky Award for Outstanding Musical Biography). In addition to his work at Dartmouth, he has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the University of California, Berkeley; and Quest University, and he is the president-elect of the American Musicological Society, the premier organization for musicologists in the English-speaking world. 

This event occurred as part of the 19/20 Hop@Home season. This is an archived view.

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