What is the course about?
Mozart and da Ponte met in 1783 and between 1786-1790 had jointly created three remarkable operas which remain firmly in the international repertoire to this day. Da Ponte had created librettos for many others, and Mozart had already written around 17 operas, starting at the age of 11. However, their intense and inspired relationship sparked off operas which addressed the new ideas of revolution against the social order, as well as morality and human relationships, and made them one of the great composer-librettist collaborations ever. We will examine the skills, personalities and principles of both men as well as a detailed study of the operas and librettos. Tutor: Pauline Greene [external website].
What will we cover?
- The personal and professional backgrounds of Mozart and da Ponte
- Opera and censorship of the times
- The study of all three operas, including source material, libretto and music.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- understand the working partnership of librettist and composer.
- understand the working relationship between Mozart and da Ponte
- understand the basic structure of these three operas and their component parts
- consider the operas in the context of their times.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Some knowledge of opera is useful but not essential. No technical knowledge of music is required.
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 or reading a review, 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, books or DVDs recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit offers a wide range of music history classes, as well as related courses in history, art history and philosophy.
In the summer term Pauline will teach MD999 Opera Studies 3: Operas in Production, as well as MD506 Music for film: a history, and MR008 Arts management: an introduction, along with other music history and appreciation courses.
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.