Birds in opera and ballet
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MD665B
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
What is the course about?
Representations of birds are common in ballet, as the ballerina’s art can portray them gracefully and give them the appearance of flying. In opera, birds can appear as magical characters, or be important symbolic elements helping or hindering their human counterparts. In this lighthearted course we will find an assortment of birds, some charming, some sinister, and look at how they appear on stage and their impact on the opera or ballet as a whole. Given some of the difficulties of creating music, costumes and movement, how is it done, and is it effective?
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Which well-known operas and ballets have birds in them?
- Why are birds significant in opera and ballet?
- How are birds incorporated into the action in operas and ballets?
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- name some well-known operas and ballets which include birds
- understand the significance or symbolism attached to birds by composers and librettists
- understand a variety of plot situations including birds.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is a beginners’ course. No prior knowledge of music, opera, ballet - or birds! - is assumed or expected.
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 Google Classroom so that further exploration may take place between classes if you wish.
- Short preparation tasks, such as listening to a piece or reading a review, will be set
- 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?
You may also wish to purchase some of the music books or recordings discussed in class, links to these materials will be available online after each session.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online 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.
Pauline Greene studied composition at Nottingham University and then composed, performed and was Musical Director with various theatre companies. She taught flute and composition, performing her music across the UK at various venues, including the Southbank Centre and the Edinburgh Festival, with her group The Concert Party, which she managed and directed. She has taught at the Universities of Middlesex and Hertfordshire, and ran the Music Access course at Morley College. She has taught at Birkbeck since 1984, moving from Music to Arts Management, and also lectures at Goldsmiths. She has given talks at the Royal Opera House, Wigmore Hall and Glyndebourne. At City Lit Pauline teaches a wide range of music history courses, with specialisms in opera, music for dance, theatre and film, musical analysis, and music since 1900. She is still involved in the organisation of small-scale charity concerts and one-off musical events, and she sings and plays with several small groups.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.