The Age of Tyrants: Sappho via Gounod's Opera

  • Details
  • Transcript
  • Audio
  • Downloads
  • Extra Reading

The heroine of Charles Gounod’s French opera Sapho (1851) sings her last aria O My Immortal Lyre on a Greek cliff before plunging to her death. Sappho, the most famous poet of the ‘Lyric Age’ of Greece, in the 7th to 6th centuries BC, addressed passionate love poems to women. 

This lecture uncovers what we know about the ‘real Sappho’, an aristocrat who lived between 630 and 570 BCE on the island of Lesbos and socialised in the lavish courts of upstart tyrants. This historical context in no way diminishes her songs’ astonishing immediacy and erotic power.

Download Transcript

This event was on Thu, 18 Jan 2018

Professor Edith Hall, Visiting Gresham Professor in Classics

Professor Edith Hall

Visiting Professor of Classics

Professor Hall is Visiting Gresham Professor in Classics. She is a British scholar of classics, specialising in Ancient Greek Literature and cultural history. She is also Professor in the Department of Classics and Centre for Hellenic Studies at Kings College London.

Find out more

Support Gresham

Gresham College has offered an outstanding education to the public free of charge for over 400 years. Today, Gresham plays an important role in fostering a love of learning and a greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Your donation will help to widen our reach and to broaden our audience, allowing more people to benefit from a high-quality education from some of the brightest minds. 

You May Also Like