This is a survey of the history of opera from its Renaissance-era beginnings to the Classical period. Opera as a performance form will be analyzed in context of pervasive socio-political, artistic, architectural, and musical climates at various stages of its development. Reading will include dramatic texts and theoretical essays (both contemporaneous and contemporary); as it will be discussed in class, required reading, viewing, and/or listening assignments are to be completed prior to class lectures. Regular trips will address and expand upon material introduced during class lectures, and attendance is required.
In addition to providing an historical overview of forms and practice, this course will require students to see and analyze several live opera performances. Weekly writing assignments addressing these live performances and required reading/listening/viewing selections will be expected to integrate concepts and analytical methodology addressed in class.
Students will also be required to submit and briefly present a final project on the last day of class. As emphasis is placed on opera as a multidisciplinary theatrical experience, all aspects of its execution—from composition to staging to management to distribution—will be addressed and offered as subjects for students’ final projects. Both the topic and medium of the final project will be determined by the student under the guidance and with the approval of the professor (parameters of the final project are addressed in further detail on the syllabus).