What is the course about?
We will be studying mainly well-known operas, based around what will be performed in and around London in 2020-21. Each opera will be put into its historical context, with a study of its composer’s typical style, the circumstances of its composition and reception, and its legacy in terms of popularity and/or innovation. The operas to be studied will be announced near the start-date of the course.
What will we cover?
- A brief historical overview of operatic style
- The composers and librettists of our chosen operas
- The plots and story-telling in our chosen operas
- Significant musical features
- The creation of musical effects which help the narrative
- The rôle of the orchestra in opera. Tutor: Pauline Greene [external website].
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify typical operatic styles from various historical periods
- Identify well-known and lesser-known operas by various composers
- Understand the historical context of each opera
- Analyse significant moments in each opera, sung, or played by the orchestra
- Understand the place of each opera in terms of innovation, the reputation of its composer and librettist, and its success.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Some previous knowledge of opera is useful but not essential. You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussions and take notes in English.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught using a range of techniques including short lectures, slide shows and discussions, practical demonstrations on the piano and guided listening sessions. Courses use a variety of materials including YouTube clips. Links to these are given on handouts so that further exploration may take place between classes if you wish.
Occasional short preparation tasks, such as listening to a piece of music or reading about a person or style, may be set from time to time. Listening and reading outside class is encouraged and, once enrolled, further online resources will be available via Google Classroom.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
- Please bring a notebook and pen.
- You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Build offers a wide range of music history classes, as well as related courses in history, art history and philosophy.
Pauline will be teaching two short courses: MD038C Great works: Verdi’s Requiem, and MD642C Great musicians: Noël Coward, at the end of this term.
If you enjoy learning about music you may like to consider our wide range of instrumental classes including piano classes taught in our digital piano suite. All beginners classes are suitable for those who don’t yet read music notation but are keen to learn.
To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details