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Handel the German born, naturalised British citizen is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of his age. Although he wrote in all the vocal and instrumental genres, he made his reputation and fortune composing Italian operas for the London stage. From the time of his death to the early 20th century he was only known for a small amount of instrumental and choral works but today his is seen as a first-rate dramatic composer.


1675 - 1759


Mozart wrote 22 operas in the Classical period and is regarded as one of the best operas composers who ever lived. He grasped and mastered all forms of opera bringing it to a new level of musical sophistication and emotional depth while demanding excellent plots with realistic characters, writing his first at 11.


1756 - 1789


The Italian composer’s musical life can be seen in four periods: the early grandiose, the personal middle, the late and then the final. There is enormous development from early to final period, but they all reflect his musical ideas, the world around him and his own personal life.


1813 - 1901


Wagner is probably the most controversial composer of all time. No other classical musician has aroused such fanaticism, for and against. He re-invented opera which led to musical modernism with his new use of harmonies and structure which broke away from older more formal styles of musical construction.


1813 – 1883

The Operetta

It includes spoken dialogue, songs and dances sometimes performed by the main characters. Although it is considered lighter than traditional opera, it often makes very controversial political commentaries in response to contemporary oppressive governments and militaries.


Operetta is a theatrical form which falls somewhere between opera and the musical.


Puccini’s musical style was broadly that of the late Romantic period which included Italian composers who came at the end of Verdi’s career. He continually updated his style, keeping pace with new tends while not always adopting them but also added outside sources into his operas like Chinese folk melodies.


1858 - 1924

Here's What You Need To Know

Date & Time

All classes are held once a month and last for 1 and a half hours starting with coffee and cake.


Locations are the Eastern suburbs or North Shore. They are easily accessable by public transport.


Classes may be conducted elsewhere and can be customised to fit your specific group.

Classes & Groups

Classes must be taken as a series of 6. A minimum of 5 people is required to join a class.


Address will be supplied upon enrolment.


What It's All About

Throughout musical history there have been compositions written that changed the face of music making. These seminal pieces allowed subsequent composers to break new ground and explore different ways of communicating with their audience. 

This series delves into 6 of these pieces and looks at the impact they made on both composers and audiences.

Series 12
6 Episodes
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 4
The Op . . .
Episode 4


Opera was invented in 1598 in Florence. Since then, it has been one of the major Classical musical forms inspiring composers to write spectacular music. In this series we look at 6 composers and their operas; how they developed over time, their importance in the musical catalogue and their legacy.

Learn More

Join Coffee Cake & Culture

Courses do not necessarily follow the term calendar. Organise a group of friends for private classes or join in an existing group.

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