Ten weeks on "GREAT LITERATURE IN OPERA"

10 Wednesday afternoons   1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

 

at the St James Campus of

GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE

200 King Street East (between Jarvis and Sherbourne)

see map

 

The George Brown College Seniors' Association 

is one of the foremost "third age learning" organizations in Toronto.

 


please note that this course is restricted to MEMBERS of the GBCSA.


For more information - or to learn about how to become a member 

please visit  http://gbseniors.com/

4 1 6    4 1 5   5 0 0 0 ,    ext. 2418.

or email  senex@georgebrown.ca


 

Just as with most of Shakespeare’s works, operas are usually inspired by a pre-existing piece of literature – they are “adaptations”. The literary source of an opera may be a poem or a novel or a historical chronicle, but most often, it is a play. Indeed, in the 19th century, most Italian opera librettos were created as adaptations of recently-produced French plays.

In this course, we will see how librettists and composers sought inspiration in important works of literature – from the Bible, to the great classical epic poems, to contemporary writers – and how they adapted them to the demands of the lyric stage.

As usual, Iain will illustrate his comments with excerpts from a wide variety of operas on DVDs.


 

DATE

 

Wed 11th September, 2019

OPERA and THE BIBLE

How the Old Testament (particularly Genesis, Exodus and Judges)

has been the inspiration for a number of biblical operas.

 

Wed 18th September, 2019

OPERA and THE FOUNDATIONS OF WESTERN LITERATURE

How librettists have adapted the great ancient Greek epic poems of Homer and the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.

 

Wed 25th September, 2019

OPERA and VIRGIL

How his Roman (latin) poems, the Georgics and especially the

Aeneid, inspired Monteverdi, Purcell and Berlioz.

 

Wed 2nd October, 2019

OPERA and OVID

Why no other single book - the transformations of the Metamorphoses - has produced so many operatic librettos.

 

       [Wed 9th October 2019]       [No class – Yom Kippur]

 

Wed 16th October, 2019

OPERA and THE GREAT MEDIEVAL WRITERS

We will explore operatic works based on the Italians, Dante, Boccaccio and Ariosto and the German writer, Wolfgang von Eschenbach.

 

Wed 23rd October, 2019

OPERA and WRITERS of the RENAISSANCE

How Cervantes in Spain and Shakespeare in England inspired some of the greatest characters in operatic literature.

 

     [Wed 30th October, 2019]     [No class – Iain will be in Ireland]

 

Wed 6th November, 2019

WRITERS of the 18th CENTURY and the FRENCH REVOLUTION

How the librettos of Metastasio and the plays of Beaumarchais

were the foundations for some of Opera’s greatest works.

 

Wed 13th November, 2019

THE POWER of WEIMAR CLASSICISM

How two greatest German writers of the early 19th century in Weimar – Friedrich Schiller and Wolfgang von Goethe – inspired operas.

 

Wed 30th November, 2019

THE EMERGENCE OF RUSSIAN LITERATURE in the 19th century

This comparatively late development produced great writers such as Gogol and Tolstoy – but the greatest of all was Alexander Pushkin.

 

Wed 27th November, 2019

OPERA and the GREAT 19th century ROMANTICS

Why Lord Byron in England, Sir Walter Scott north of the border and Hugo von Hofmannsthal in Vienna were ideal sources for operas.


 

Previous 10-week Courses taught by Iain

at the George Brown College Seniors' Association include ...

2018     Understanding Arias and Ensembles

2015     Opera and the History of Paris

2013     10 Great Opera Singers - and their Signature Roles

2011      All the 28 Operas of Giuseppe Verdi

2009     10 Great Scenes from Opera (in varying productions)

2008     What are the 10 Greatest Operas of all time?

2007     The Golden Century of Italian Opera