Although the last six months have been a challenge, technology has allowed many of us to connect with the world of opera. This fall we will explore three American operas: Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah and Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick. We will also enjoy the Metropolitan Opera’s three fall operas Verdi’s Aida, Il Trovatore and Beethoven’s Fidelio. We will start with Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. Some background on Scott Joplin’s life and music will enrich our appreciation of this African-American composer. Our next class will cover Verdi’s Aida. Using some of the standard highlights we will compare different singers including Caruso, Pavarotti, Ponselle, Leontyne Price and Elisabeth Rethberg as well as paying special attention to the Judgement Scene. Susanna by Carlisle Floyd will follow next. This opera is adapted from the Apocryphal tale of Susannah and the Elders yet it resonates with the 1950’s era of Mccarthyism. Using folk-like songs, gospel hymns and intense situations, this opera never lets up in tension. The next session will deal with Verdi’s extremely melodic and melodramatic opera Il Trovatore. The instructor will highlight vocal comparisons some of which will include Leonard Warren, Lawrence Tibbett, del Monaco, Pavarotti, Ponselle and Milanov. Our last American opera is Moby Dick by Jake Heggie. It was highly acclaimed when premiered in Dallas, Texas and has been performed in Australia, Canada, San Diego and San Francisco. See what you think about Heggie’s condensation of Melville’s novel. We conclude our fall sessions with Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio. Beethoven struggled with this opera wherein the wife of a prisoner successfully frees him. Of course, Beethoven’s music expresses the liberation of the human spirit.
Class will meet: September 22, October 6, October 20, November 3, November 17 and December 1.
Dave Collins has been lecturing on opera in the greater Boston area for over 25 years. He had been Opera Boston’s resident lecturer for 8 years. He has given opera courses at MIT, Regis College, The Boston Center for Adult Education and The Cambridge Center for Adult Education as well as lecturing at Northeastern University. Dave is currently a trustee of The Boston Wagner Association. Dave received his Bachelor degree from Boston University’s School of Music, his Master’s from Lesley University and did post grad work at the New England Conservatory and the University of Connecticut – Hart School of Music.