Close Encounters With Music
Conversations With... Intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas.

Sunday November 12 | 3 PM
Saint James Place, Great Barrington, MA
Author and Scholar Mitchell Cohen

Ken Moore

To what extent do operas express the political and cultural ideas of their age? How do story lines, harmonies and musical motifs reflect the composer's view of the changing relations among art, politics, and society? Mitchell Cohen, who combines his academic expertise in political science and lifelong interest in the spectacle of opera in his new book (The Politics of Opera—A History from Monteverdi to Mozart, Princeton Press), will underscore the political dimensions of libretti and ideological elements of opera, which absorbs and mirrors currents of the day in dramatic dress-up. Professor of political science at Baruch College and the Graduate School of CUNY, he has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement (London), Les Temps Modernes (Paris), and edited Princeton Readings in Political Thought (1995) and Rebels and Reactionaries: An Anthology of Great Political Stories (1992). Your next night at the opera won’t be the same!

$20.00 includes light refreshment


Sunday April 22 | 3 PM
The Mount, Lenox, MA
Professor Timothy Sergay

In a lecture illustrated with film clips, Professor Timothy Sergay of SUNY Albany will present an overview of Russian and Soviet film music, focusing not only on the famous contributions of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, but also on such lesser known masters as Georgi Sviridov, the Soviet adoption of the Hollywood musical genre in the 1930s, the cultural role of songs created for Soviet films, and the influence of Russian music on Hollywood film scores. The talk will conclude with a review of the conventions of Hollywood’s musical representation of Russia and the world beyond the Iron Curtain. Sergay is a scholar and translator of Russian with multiple MA degrees in Russian language and literature—from the University of Michigan, Middlebury College Russian School, the Pushkin Institute of Russian Language in Moscow, and Yale University. His Yale doctoral dissertation was on the Christian sensibility of the Russian novelist Boris Pasternak.

$20.00 includes light refreshment

For further information and to make reservations: 800/843-0778 or