The course provides a survey of opera from its inception in the 17th-century to the present, considering such issues as opera’s relationship to its cultural context, contemporary stagings, opera conventions and singers (including the castrato), opera and literature, exoticism, and opera’s representation of gender and sexuality. Classes will allow students to focus on close readings/viewings of specific scenes. Students enrolled in the course will have the opportunity to attend at least one performance at the Metropolitan Opera.
Sample reading list:
Monteverdi, Coronation of Poppea
Wagner, Die Walküre
Britten, The Turn of the Screw
Mozart, Don Giovanni
Stravinsky, The Rake’s Progress
Weekly listening assignments; readings of librettos; optional video showings of opera performances.
No technical knowledge required. Students may find it useful to have some experience reading music, or a previous music course (such as MUS 103), or some background in performing (chorus, undergraduate groups, instrumental lessons, etc.)