Forgotten Celebrities and Lost Worlds: Baroque Set and Costume Design with Alexander McCargar

Forgotten Celebrities and Lost Worlds: Baroque Set and Costume Design with Alexander McCargar


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In eighteenth-century Europe, opera was the equivalent of pop music.  Many theater designers, including the renowned Bibiena family, achieved great fame. However, due to the ephemeral nature of theater and opera, only drawings and etchings remain today. Join an expert on Baroque stagecraft to learn about this rich and evocative period in the history of theatre.  Together, we will explore the artifacts that remain from this period to piece together the fantastical worlds they put on stage and what cultural and political issues were at stake.

Flying goddesses, underworld infernos, staged naval battles, and scenes of ancient and faraway kingdoms are just some examples of the imaginary and visually stimulating worlds that were seen on European stages in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. At a time when opera was the dominant cultural art form, there was a huge demand for stage and costume designers to bring these stories to life. As we will see, these stories were not just told in a vacuum but reflected the current political and social tensions of the time.

First, we will study how the Baroque stage worked, with backstage images from some of the few remaining Baroque theaters in Europe. For those interested in traveling, information on where these theaters are as well as relevant museums will also be included. Next, we will look at where stage artists might have gotten their inspiration from such as costume books and travel accounts, and finally, through an examination of drawings and etchings from Baroque stage and costume designers, we will bring some of these lost productions back to life.

Led by an expert on Baroque Stagecraft, Alexander McCargar, this interactive seminar will give participants a grounding in the visual culture of Baroque performance. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of what Baroque opera must have felt like and information on how to visit some of the few remaining theaters.

Alexander grew up in the greater Boston area and now lives in Vienna, Austria. He earned a MFA from Yale School of Drama and previously studied Architecture and Art History at Rhode Island School of Design. He has been awarded numerous grants to study the history of visual culture including a Fulbright Scholarship and a Beinecke Library Research Fellowship. He enjoys traveling and is always eager to learn new things.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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A
A.
Very interesting

Guest did not leave comment

K
K.M.
Excellent Seminar!

What a fascinating dive into the Baroque theatre world. Alexander is very knowledgeable and made the information so interesting. Excellent illustrations to go along. I will do more seminars with this expert!

J
J.
Magical look at European live theatre staging and set up in the Baroque and Renaissance.

Completely delightful surprise - had no idea that several theatres still exist and so, more places to add to visits to northern Italy, Austria and environs.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A.
Very interesting

Guest did not leave comment

K
K.M.
Excellent Seminar!

What a fascinating dive into the Baroque theatre world. Alexander is very knowledgeable and made the information so interesting. Excellent illustrations to go along. I will do more seminars with this expert!

J
J.
Magical look at European live theatre staging and set up in the Baroque and Renaissance.

Completely delightful surprise - had no idea that several theatres still exist and so, more places to add to visits to northern Italy, Austria and environs.