Opera studies 2: the operatic soprano
Time: 13:20 - 15:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MD998
Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)
What is the course about?
As we often think of operatic tenors as heroes, so we think of the soprano in opera as the heroine. She may be young and charming or strong and determined, but we might assume that she and the tenor will end the opera as a couple - even if one or both of them dies! We trace the development of soprano rôles from early operas to the present, considering vocal changes and training as well as the character of the voice. By considering range, type, composers’ preferences, and some famous singers, we will look at the soprano as the prima donna of joy, despair, hope and triumph.
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 soprano voice in opera, from its earliest days to the present
- Differing kinds of soprano voice and vocal training
- Famous soprano rôles in opera.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify some different kinds of soprano voices, e.g. lyric soprano and dramatic soprano
- Identify some famous soprano characters in various operas
- Understand the development of the soprano voice, musically and in varying operatic rôles throughout opera history.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Some previous knowledge of opera is useful but not essential but you should have an interest in music and be keen to find out more. 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 and watching 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 an aria or reading about a composer, librettist or style, may be set from time to time. There will be lots of clips from operas to watch in class, and also afterwards at home if students have access to the internet. 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?
We recommend: MD999 Opera studies 3: operas in production
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.