From Florence to Battersea – the story of opera’s journey to the capital…

So how did opera, with its origins in late 16th Century Italy, end up being performed for TWID diners in Battersea?

The first known operatic works was produced in 1598 by Jacopo Pen in Florence. It is the earliest documented work and therefore considered to be the first by historians.

It struck a chord with Italians immediately and soon spread throughout Europe, with Germany, France and England all embracing the dramatic concept of acts set to music in a theatrical setting.

Italian opera is still the most prestigious and authentic of all the slight variants on the original and has dominated since Pen’s Dafne, attracting some of the greatest composers the world has ever known including George Frideric Handel and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Classic productions include Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte and The Magic Flute, though the English must thank John Blow and Henry Purcell for making opera popular on these shores.

Both faced constraints in how far they could develop their work and it wasn’t until opera received royal approval that it perhaps really found its place in England when, in 1732, The Royal Opera House was constructed. With a prestigious venue to perform, opera’s place among the elite and wealthy was cemented.

Largely confined to the capital, it wasn’t until touring companies took opera around the UK that its popularity and accessibility spread and for a time, the British National Opera Company quenched the public thirst

Most of the performances had to be translated into English and by the late 19th Century, Manchester had become the musical capital of Britain and it too had its own Opera House. Productions like Puccini’s Madame Butterfly ensured opera was here to stay.

So what is Battersea’s connection, you may ask?

In 2016, ‘Opera Sustains the World’ was performed in Battersea Park – with talented performers raising funds for charity while performing classics from Bizet, Verde, Strauss and Puccini just a couple of miles down the road from TWID.

So with our love of opera, a dramatic theatrical setting and fine food, TWID is perhaps making opera more accessible than ever with live performances six days a week genuinely wowing our customers, most of whom comment they’ve never experienced anything quite like it.

So, if opera is new to you, TWID is the perfect taster session in every sense imaginable…

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