Opera, Ballet and Music Theater Genres

This course considers the relationship between music and the disciplines of drama, dance, and related theatrical expressions. Operas by Mozart, Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini; operettas by Strauss, Lehar, and Bernstein; and ballets by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev will be considered, as will be more recent hybrid theater forms ranging from the Phillip Glass to the 1960s avant-garde to postmodern examples. Works will be critically analyzed using DVDs, CDs, and piano illustrations.

Weeks 1 - 2: Opera / Ballet Synthesis

  • Lully at the court of Louis IV; Lully’s Atys

  • Rimsky-Korsakov: Mlada

  • Roussel: Padmavati

  • Puccini: Le Villy

Week 3:

  • Mozart & da Ponte operas

  • Verdi: Shakespearean operas

  • Puccini: Fannciulla del West

Week 4: Operetta, the Art of Escapism

  • Johann Strauss: Die Fledermaus, Zigeunerbaron,

  • Lehar: A Merry Widow

  • The Great Crash and escapism (1873 stock market crash)

Week 5: American Musical Theater

  • Kern: Showboat

  • Bernstein: West Side Story, Candide

  • Bock: Fiddler on the Roof

  • Soundheim:TBA

Week 6: Modernist Ballet

  • Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet

  • Debussy: Jeux

  • Falla: Three-Cornered-Hat

  • Ravel: TBD

Week 7: Stravinsky and the Reinvention of the Classical

  • Apollon Musagète

  • Oedipus Rex and Agon

Week 8: American Avant-garde

  • Crumb: Voice of the Whale

  • Glass: Satyagraha

  • Adams, Reich etc. Works TBD