Join Dr Joseph Talia OAM, opera singer, artistic director, teacher and scholar, in a musical journey across four centuries, enhancing our appreciation of the qualities that make Italian opera one of the most loved artistic forms of all time, as well as one of the most successful cultural exports of il Bel Paese. The second Golden Age of bel canto, at the start of the 19th century, coincided with the rise of Rossini and the decline of castrati, whose roles were increasingly given to contraltos. The beginning of Rossini’s career was marked by extraordinary innovation and creativity, which secured his place among the foremost composers in Western music. Rossini paved the way for Donizetti and Bellini’s dramatic bel canto. Their work signalled the beginning of the Romantic period. No presentation of Rossini can claim to be complete without mention of his muse and collaborator, prima donna assoluta Isabella Colbran.