‘Opera: Passion, Power and Politics’ Special Feature


This podcast introduces the exhibition OPERA: PASSION, POWER AND POLITICS, which runs from the 30th of September this year until the 25th of February 2018 at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. It is an immersive exhibition in an innovative partnership between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, with stage sets, recordings and never before assembled memorabilia of special landmark premieres in the history of opera, from the start of the 17th Century up to the present time. The premieres are reincarnated in the context of the impact they made on society when they first appeared. In this podcast, the exhibition’s Curator, Kate Bailey, and its Music Director, Sir Antonio Pappano, give a guide to the exhibition and discuss some of its highlights.

Music extracts for this podcast have been exclusively supplied through the generous agreement of Warner Classics and Decca Classics. Warner Classics have provided the extracts from Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and the closing Scene from Strauss’s Salome. Decca Classics have provided the extract of the opening bars of Strauss’s Salome.

Jon Tolansky – Podcast Narrator and Producer


This exhibition is sponsored by Societe Generale

You can listen to this podcast in its entirety below, accompanied by visuals, or in audio segments, available further down on this page.

'Opera: Passion, Power and Politics' Audio Feature

Listen to this podcast with accompanying visuals from the exhibition!

Listen in segments to 'Opera: Passion, Power, & Politics'

Produced and narrated by:


Jon Tolansky


Jon Tolansky specialises in making documentary features on composers and performers for international radio organisations and recording companies. These have included the BBC, the WFMT Radio Network, the CBC, Warner Classics, Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon and VAI Records. His collaborations with the Hampsong Foundation include the Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation series.

Learn more about (and book your tickets for) this exhibition:

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Learn more about this exhibition via the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can also and explore visual highlights from the exhibition online.

Visit site

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Learn more about this exhibition via the website of the Royal Opera House, who collaborated with the V&A on this exhibition.

Visit site

Related Resources


Song: Mirror of the World
Program 2
Vienna, Crossroads of Change


Singers on Singing :
Thomas Hampson


Singers on Singing: Singing Strauss


Singers on Singing :
Montserrat Caballé

Part of

Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation

Information on the musical recordings:

A special thanks to Warner Classics and Decca Classics for providing the musical examples (listed below) for this feature.