Drama of Opera

Term: Spring 2011

Subject Code: GLIB

Course Number: 5536

Contrary to commonly accepted wisdom, opera was not invented as an essentially musical form but as the recreation of Greek drama, understood to be a perfect synthesis of all the arts (such as poetry, theater, dance, song, instrumental music, painting and architecture). In this course, we examine the evolution of opera from this perspective, tracing its development fromMonteverdis pioneering LOrfeo (1607) to its music-theater incarnations in the twentieth century with Kurt Weills Threepenny Opera (1928) and Leonard Bernsteins West Side Story (1955), concluding with contemporary examples of multi-media performance art work. For the final project, students either conduct independent research on a composer, period or related non-Western genre, or write the book and lyrics for a 15-minute opera on a topic of their choice.

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