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An Introduction to Opera

This course will look at the development of the operatic art-form from its first origins to its culmination in the works of Wagner and Verdi in the 19th century.

Its aim will be not only to introduce opera, but also to put the operatic works in historical context. In each lecture a particular era or movement will be examined and combined with an historical overview, a detailed look at the work of selected composers and a focus on three particular operas. The course provides a taster of the operatic genre both helping the newcomer to start exploring one of the world's great art-forms, whilst offering new historical insights for the more established opera lover. To encourage listeners to explore further, lectures will conclude with a short recorded operatic extract, and suggested listening lists will be provided for those who wish to explore further at home.

Classical to Romantic
Mozart, Beethoven and Weber

In the second lecture you will see how opera became an international art form and you will follow some of Mozart's early experiences in Italy and Germany. In addition to opera seria (serious opera), comic opera also developed and the comedies of Galuppi and Gozzi had an important influence on Mozart leading to his ground-breaking collaboration with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte on Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan Tutte. Native German opera was created, based in the sing-spiel form, and this and foreign works by composers like Cherubini played an important role in Beethoven's search for the right operatic form. You will finish by considering how the rise of Romanticism and a sense of German Nationalism influenced the work of Weber. There will also be a detailed examination of Mozart and Le Nozze di Figaro, Beethoven and Fidelio, Weber and Der Freischutz.


Mr Robert Hugill | talks


Date and Time:

21 January 2016 at 10:45 am


Half Day



The University Women's Club
2 Audley Square

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