Daniel Snowman is a frequent speaker for a number of British arts festivals, cultural organisations, luncheon clubs, NADFAS (National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies) etc, and in a typical year delivers some 40-50 illustrated talks and lectures in the UK and abroad.
Highlights (in addition to over 600 lectures to NADFAS Societies etc) have included:
- Yerushah Lecture (University of Cambridge, 14 May 2003)
- Scouloudi Lecture (University of London, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, 12 June 2003)
- Leo Baeck Lecture (Imperial War Museum, London, 3 November 2004)
- Paper on 'Why the Public Loves History' (University of London, Institute of Historical Research Winter Conference, Senate House, 13 February 2006)
- Public interview with Daniel Barenboim (Royal Academy of Music, London, 3 Feb 2010)
- Introduction to Opera' day (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 20 Feb 2010)
- The 2010 Annual Fellows' Lecture (University of London, Institute of Historical Research, 1 June 2010)
- Paper on 19thC opera history (Royal Musical Association annual conference, London, 15 July 2010)
- 2010/11: Six Lectures on the Social History of Opera (Royal Academy of Music, London; monthly, from September 2010 to March 2011). Details here.
- Introduction to Aida: 'Insight' evening (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 3 March 2011)
- Paper on the Social History of Opera (University of Western Ontario, Canada, 9 March 2011)
- Speech on the Social History of Opera (University Club, New York, 15 March 2011)
- Paper on 19thC opera politics to the 'Music in Britain' social history seminar, University of London, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House (9 May 2011)
- Introduction to Die Meistersinger (Education Day at Glyndebourne, 15 May 2011)
- Paper to the Anglo-American Conference of Historians, University of London, Institute of Historical
- Research, Senate House (6 July 2012)
- Paper (on Elektra and Salome) to the Institute of Musical Research, Senate House, London (22 October 2012)
- Lecture on 'Puppetry and Opera': Puppet Centre conference, Barbican, London (9 November 2012)
- Lecture on opera history at Juilliard School of Music, New York (31 January 2013)
- Lectures to New York Metropolitan Opera Guild (1 and 2 February 2013)
- Lecture (Verdi and Victoria) for the "Viva Verdi!" festival at the Italian Cultural Institute, London (7
- February 2013)
- Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Memorial Lecture: The Hitler Emigrés Re-visited: Senate House, London (21 February 2013)
- Chaired final plenary session, Institute of Historical Research annual Winter Conference ('History and Biography'), Senate House, London (8 March 2013)
- Delivered pre-concert talk about Michael Tippett's: A Child of our Time (London Philharmonic Orchestra), and sang in the performance: Royal Festival Hall, London (1 May 2013)
- Lecture to 120th annual conference of the Jewish Historical Society of England (28 August 2013)
- Lecture at National Gallery (London) to introduce their exhibition Facing the Modern: Vienna 1900 (Study Day: 30 November 2013)
- Lecture at Royal College of Music, London, to introduce their 3-day international Symposium "Singing A Song in a Foreign Land" (21 February 2014)
- Lecture (War and the Arts) at Barber of Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham re: their exhibition, "Rebel Visions" (26 November 2014)
- Delivered pre-concert lecture for Classical Opera's inaugural 'MOZART 250' weekend, Milton Court, London (21 February 2015)
- Chaired panel at Institute of Historical Research conference on 'London and the First World War' (20 March 2015)
- Speaker: 'Cities of Modernity: European Arts and Architecture 1880-1914': Royal Institute of British Architects (21 April 2015)
- Organised and chaired six public Seminars at University of London, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, with leading historians debating how we use and abuse the past (monthly, from 14 October 2015 to 9 March 2016). Details here.
- Lecture (The Gilded Stage: A Social History of Opera) at Royal College of Music, London (14 January 2016)
- Chaired final session of Anglo-French History Conference, London University, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House (18 March 2016)
Interviewing Daniel Barenboim before an audience at the Royal Academy of Music, London
Principal Lecture topics for 2016/17
"NOT BLOODY LIKELY! The Marketing of Covent Garden, 1600-2000"The Covent Garden piazza was the first great square in London. Created in the 1630s, its perimeters were decorated by a string of Italianate buildings - notably, on its western side, that self-consciously Palladian church, St Paul's, by Inigo Jones. One of the most fashionable areas in town, the piazza soon sprouted every amenity a wealthy Stuart or Hanoverian household might require: coffee houses, a market for fresh fruit and vegetables (and elegant but discreet prostitutes), and in 1732, the first of three successive theatres on the square's north-eastern borders. All this made for rich pickings by artists such as Hogarth and others.
Over the (nearly) four centuries since the piazza's creation much was to change as the sights, sounds and skills on show shifted with the times. One theatre after another burned down only to be redesigned and rebuilt, while today's market would be unrecognisable to earlier habitués from Swift and Dr Johnson to Shaw's Eliza Doolittle. In 1872, Gustave Doré portrayed Covent Garden as little more than a dark and dangerous place of the night. Yet the Covent Garden piazza and the cultural life it has long embraced have continued to survive, indeed to thrive: a state of grace which would surely sometimes have seemed (to Eliza at least) 'not bloody likely'
“Guerra! Guerra!” Music, the Arts and War: 1800-2000
Art has often been stimulated by war, from the Iliad and Aenead to novels such as War and Peace, the poetry of Wilfred Owen, the visual images of Goya’s Horrors of War, Picasso’s Guernica, Henry Moore’s huddled masses and the sculpture of countless war memorials. Then there’s music. Upbeat anthems like the Marseillaise or choruses belting out “Guerra! Guerra!” in operas such as Aida - and the sadness of Nimrod every year at the Cenotaph.
With the approaching anniversaries of the First World War and of Waterloo, we examine the links between art and war across Europe over the past two centuries. During the course of our artistic explorations, we encounter the triumphs and tragedies of Napoleonic times, visit mid-century Italy during its struggle for independence, learn how the arts in France portrayed the regime of Napoleon III before and after he was toppled by the Franco-Prussian war, and examine artistic responses to the Boer War and the two World Wars - at the time and since.
This lecture places art in a powerfully resonant historical context. It is richly illustrated with imagery taken from throughout Europe, and it also draws upon the messages (sometimes disturbing, sometimes comforting) embodied in music, drama and literature and that most multimedia of art forms, opera.
The Gilded Stage: A Social and Cultural History of Opera
In Mozart's day, who would have known who he was, and how? Why did the 'prima donna' get her fiery reputation? Which have been better for opera: dictatorships or democracies? Has opera ever been truly self-financing? When did opera audiences begin to turn up on time and remain quiet during performances? And how did a supposedly 'elitist' art form take root in such egalitarian societies as Australia and the USA?
These are some of the questions addressed in a richly illustrated Lecture about the history of an art form that incorporates all the others. From the birth of opera in late Renaissance Italy we move to Louis XIV’s Versailles, Handel’s London, Mozart’s Vienna, Verdi’s Italy, Wagner’s Germany, Gilded Age America and the world-wide spread of opera in the 20thC. The Lecture concentrates on the 'demand' rather than the 'supply', and considers eg: patronage of the arts, the changing nature of the operatic professions, opera and politics, theatrical architecture and stage design, and the impact of new technologies from gaslight to digital downloads. By the 21stC, opera had become truly global in its appeal. Yet, with the core repertoire seeming to slip into an ever-receding past and the world plunged into economc recession, the question must be addressed: does opera have a future?
Verdi and Victoria: National Icons
Queen Victoria and Giuseppe Verdi died within a week of each other in January 1901, two octogenarians widely revered as the embodiments of their respective nations. They had much in common: Victoria loved music and opera, while Verdi cared deeply about the politics of Italian unification. Each achieved early celebrity, later ‘retiring’ from the public eye (thereby attracting some resentment) before becoming a national treasure once again in old age.
Both became encrusted in layers of mythology, during their lifetimes and thereafter, as British and Italians alike refashioned their past in the service of an ever-shifting present. Drawing on a rich multiplicity of images, this Lecture examines the changing iconography of the two ‘V’s’ against the background of the wider cultural history of their respective nations.
The Hitler Emigrés
What do these have in common? The Penguin Pool at London Zoo; the Glyndebourne and Edinburgh Festivals; the art publishers Phaidon and Thames & Hudson; the cartoon character "Supermac"; The Buildings of England; the film The Red Shoes; the Amadeus Quartet.
Each was created by émigrés from Central Europe who, escaping the shadow of Nazism, found refuge in Britain. Artists and architects, film makers and philosophers, musicians and publishers, historians, psychologists and scientists - all brought something of their continental legacy to Britain. Their collective talent was enormous and their influence far in excess of their numbers. The Lecture is richly illustrated: a colourful and provocative introduction to the art and culture of our own lifetimes.