Oxford Literary Festival
Simon McDonald – Beyond Britannia: Reshaping UK Foreign Policy
20 March | Weston Lecture Theatre | 18:00

The head of the Diplomatic Service during the Cameron, May and Johnson years Baron Simon McDonald looks at what future British foreign policy should look like given uncomfortable truths about the decline in our military capability.

McDonald says new challenges lie ahead, including from climate change, artificial intelligence and the threat from China, make it important to reconcile ourselves with our position in the world. And he argues that our significant soft power strengths can be harnessed to expand our international influence.

Change is only possible if we acknowledge the challenges of Brexit and reduce unrealistic hard-power ambitions. McDonald says excellence in other areas countries care about will keep the UK internationally relevant not nostalgia for a lost pre-eminence.

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Opera Rara
Reading with Roger: Bel Canto Bully
28 March | Zoom | 18:00

Join Opera Rara member’s book club, Reading with Roger. Roger Parker is joined by musicologist Philip Eisenbeiss to discuss his book Bel Canto Bully: The Life and Times of the Legendary Opera Impresario Domenico Barbaja.

Domenico Barbaja was a gambling magnate and the greatest opera impresario of the 19th century. A rags to riches millionaire, Barbaja was also a serial womaniser, a tireless traveller and an irresistibly charming bully who was at the heart of the bel canto opera period.

Responsible for the emergence of several opera giants Gioachino Rossini, Barbaja also promoted the greatest voices of the era: Isabella Colbran, Maria Malibran, Giuditta Pasta, G.B. Rubini and Luigi Lablache.

Skilfully navigating through the changing political powers of his day, Barbaja established an empire that stretched from Naples to Milan and Vienna, and had an irrevocable impact on opera as we know it today.

Purchase tickets here.