In Shakespeare's plays and poems references to songs and singing are abundant (the word music alone occurs well over two hundred times), and these songs vary from the crudest ballads to some of the most subtle and moving art-songs to be found anywhere. In a theatre with little scenery and no lighting effects, songs set the mood, not only for love, but also for magic and healing. For audiences to be convinced and moved the skill of delivery must have been of the highest order. Shakespeare both praises good singers and, rather more often, ridicules poor and pretentious ones just as his inclusion of music in the plays veers from sublime to slapstick. Gerald Place, a former choral exhibitioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, draws together all these references to singing, illustrating the talk with songs accompanied by the viola da gamba.

The lecture-recital begins with a substantial buffet lunch (please inform us of any dietary requirements when booking).

Tickets: £20 (including buffet lunch)