Orpheus and Eurydice: A tragic love story in ancient literature and early modern opera
Time: 13:30 - 17:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MD041C
Duration: 1 session
What is the course about?
The tale of Orpheus and Eurydice has fed the imagination of artists and writers for over three millennia. This course will look at a few of its earliest representations in literature, namely three Latin texts of the 1st century BC / 1st century AD, before turning to consider two of its operatic versions: L’Orfeo by Monterverdi (1607) and Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck (1762). We will consider the emphasis each writer and artist places on elements of the story, and discuss the wider cultural and political context in which these works were produced.
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?
13.30-15.00 with Dr Nikoletta Manioti (Classics)
- an overview of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice
- an examination of the three extant Latin versions in Virgil’s Georgics, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and ps-Virgil’s The Gnat
15.00-15.30 half-hour break
15.30-17.00 with Dr Katy Hamilton (Music)
- comparisons of key scenes in the story as depicted by Monteverdi and Gluck
- a discussion of the difference between early seventeenth-century and late eighteenth-century tactics to tackle the story and the emotional states of its characters.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- form an overview of the key differences between Virgil, Ovid, and characters in the Monteverdi and Gluck operas
- recognize key musical and dramatic techniques used in the operas under discussion
- feel confident using some technical language to describe this work eg. Recitativo accompagnato.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for absolute beginners. We will read the ancient texts in English translation, so no prior knowledge of Latin is required. However, we will look at some music manuscripts and learn to identify key features of music notation (how many violins are playing, etc…) so this course will be most suitable for those who are curious and ambitious to learn.
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 (zoom) 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.
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.