Sunday, 8 October 2006

More on Opera

Filed under: Music — Michael @ 21:53

Along with my wife, blackcat, I have been going through a video course on Mozart’s Operas. The course is the work of Robert Greenberg for The Teaching Company. (I will have more to say about The Teaching Company and Mr. Greenberg in a future post. For now I will say simply that his courses are great.) In the course, Mr. Greenberg walks us through various Mozart operas, providing insights into the characters, the story, Mozart’s situation at the time he wrote the music, factoids about the librettist, and a lot of detail about the music. After all, an opera is all about the music, right? Wrong.
As I touched on in an earlier post, and something Mr. Greenberg stresses in his course, is that without a sense of the story and charactrs an opera is difficult to really appreciate. (I know I have never had much of an appreciation for opera.) One of the key points of the course is how good Mozart was at providing music that added depth to the characters and a clarity to the situations of the story. But without knowledge of the story or the characters we’re at a disadvantage because we won’t be able to truly appreciate how good a job Mozart (or any other composer) did.
For example, take Don Giovanni. Thanks to these lessons we now know the story and the characters and we have heard selections of the music. The story and characters are interesting and with Mozart’s music there is real drama. I can’t wait to see it in a live performance.

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