Baroque Opera Live is a performance group based in Hastings, East Sussex. We were formed in June 2010 to perform music by Handel, Rameau, Lully, Vivaldi and other composers of the Baroque era.
Baroque music was composed roughly from the time of Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) to that of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). One of its main influences is thought to be Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism, who believed that music could enhance reverence for God and help to spread God’s word.
Spectacular progress of knowledge, art and architecture took place during the Baroque era. This was the age of Galileo and Newton as well as Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Rembrandt. The Roman Catholic Church encouraged the arts to communicate religious themes with direct emotional impact, so great cathedrals were built to inspire awe, and architects designed palaces and theatres to match them in grandeur.
The Baroque age saw the birth of opera, at first in Italy, but quickly spreading to other parts of Europe. Britain boasted the sublime beauty of Handel’s operas, though his oratorios (unstaged vocal works modelled on operas but with religious or biblical themes) were much more popular during his lifetime.
The Baroque Style
A feature of Baroque music pieces is to depict a single intense emotion. From the deep sorrow of Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, written for just four trumpets and a drum…
..to the exultation of Handel’s Messiah, Baroque composers are unequalled in stirring the passions of the soul, lifting and dignifying the spirit and freeing the mind from earthly concerns.
Today’s music therapists, who use music to help people combat problems such as high blood pressure, believe that Baroque music is uniquely calming. Some pioneering schools play this music during lessons because research has also shown that it helps focus the mind by balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Baroque Opera Live performs its concerts in churches, the acoustics of which are very well suited to this style of music, and tend to enhance its beauty. We are always open to offers of new venues, so we would welcome your suggestions.