Spring 2019 (Click to download syllabus in pdf)
(eight Tuesdays at The Union Club)
Opera Essentials is a concise but comprehensive exploration of opera and the extraordinary role it has played in four centuries of Europe's and the world's culture. Each episode traces a dual aspect of opera's nature: first as it unfolded over time, then as it is emerges from close examination of a selected example.
Mar 26 Introduction
Drawing the big picture in a timeline that relates opera to the rest of history and the arts during the past four centuries.
Apr 2 Poem and Score
Opera's texts have two crucial components, blended yet distinct, each with its own history, process and priorities.
Apr 9 Gods and Peasants
Opera tells stories of all kinds, but its subject matter evolved in very particular ways that are full of importance for the evolution of the form.
Apr 16 Italy and the World
Italy got the project started; the rest of Europe admired, imported, imitated -- and then rebelled. But the interaction did not stop there.
[no class Apr 23]
Apr 30 Voice and Orchestra
The key performing elements, both of which evolved radically over time.
May 7 Sound and Sight
How the senses relate in operatic drama (spoiler alert: it is controversial).
May 14 Stars and Fans
Opera in the world involves not just creators and their creations, but performers and a public.
May 21 Art and Commerce
A short history of operatic funding, with fortunes made and lost, and of the perennial aspiration to surpass the bounds of the marketplace.
An introduction to Wagner's Ring
three Tuesdays in March
at Opera America
- or -
three Thursdays in April
at The Union Club
March 5 or Apr 4
Ring 1: How the Music Works
March 12 or Apr 11
Ring 2: The Ring and the Psyche
March 19 or Apr 18
Ring 3: The Ring in performance, 1876-2076