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Deloitte Ignite: Intelligence² Debate: Sunday 15 September 2013, 6pm

Deloitte Ignite

Paul Hamlyn Hall

This year’s Deloitte Ignite will be curated by actor, writer, presenter and opera fan Stephen Fry. The festival will celebrate the joint bicentenary of musical greats Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner.


Intelligence² Debate Verdi vs Wagner: the 200th birthday debate with Stephen Fry

Think opera and you think Verdi. Verdi created some of the most beloved operas of all time, from the high romantic tragedy of La traviata and Rigoletto to the grand ancient worlds created in Nabucco and Aida and the Shakespearian dramas of Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff.

Verdi’s music transcends the barriers between high and low culture. Many of his arias count among the greatest songs ever written, streaming out of the opera house doors and into the football stadiums and even the charts. Verdi was also the outstanding cultural figure at the heart of the unification of Italy, the musical father of the Risorgimento. Who needs Wagner when Verdi offers such richness?

People who truly appreciate great music, say the Wagnerians. Wagner’s music is on an altogether higher, more intellectual stratosphere. You hum Verdi; you think Wagner. Here is opera, and music, at its epic, definitive height.

To know Der Ring des Nibelungen is to be fully immersed in opera at its greatest technical brilliance and compositional originality. To understand and appreciate Wagner’s music is not to forgive his political views, but to cast them aside in the face of irresistible, unassailable genius.

Come and find out whether the southern allure of Verdi or the Teutonic genius of Wagner triumph in this gripping debate chaired by festival curator Stephen Fry. With Norman Lebrecht on the side of Verdi and Philip Hensher standing up for Wagner..

Expected running time: about 2 hours, no interval