What is the course about?
Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas is one of the earliest operas (as we now understand the term) written in Britain. We will explore its somewhat mysterious creation and early performances, and unpick the surprising blend of narrative elements, as well as unpicking why Purcell’s music makes for such a compelling, dramatic, emotional event.
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?
- The construction of the plot, and its sources
- The compositional history of the piece
- Earlier models that inspired Purcell to write the piece
- The musical forms used by Purcell in constructing his opera.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify classical and seventeenth-century aspects of the story
- Outline the structure of the work
- Identify some of the musical forms Purcell uses in his setting
- Summarise what is known of the opera’s early history.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course in intended to be accessible for anyone with an interest in western classical music. We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities. All texts will be in English or accompanied by an English translation. Musical scores are all available free online via IMSLP.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is an online course:
Sessions will be held via video-conference (google meets) and comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need a good internet connection and a computer with microphone & webcam. If using a tablet it will need a screen large enough for you to comfortably view the class handouts.
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.