Opera Old and New: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Operas


SKU: HOPE Category: Tag:
Start Date: 10/01/2019, 4 meetings
Class Time: 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: 240, LHS
Instructor: David Collins
Status: Running/Openings


This season, the Metropolitan Opera takes us on a journey from the nineteenth to the twentieth century as it presents, in HD screenings, three standard repertory operas and a Met premier: Turandot, Manon, Madama Butterfly and Akhnaten. We start with Puccini’s Turandot which had its premier in 1926. Among its memorable arias are “Nessun dorma”, “In quest reggia” and “Signore, ascolta”. Along with famous singers such as Pavarotti, Corelli, Nilsson, Eva Turner and Caballé, we will also hear some of the rarely performed music of Franco Alfano’s original finale which Toscanini edited out. Massenet’s “Manon” is next on our schedule. Premiered in 1884, it was the first of two popular operas based on this tale. French elan and theatrical excitement combine with beautiful melodies as Massenet presents a fuller picture of this title character. We will make some comparisons between two very famous singers of the title role, Beverly Sills and Renée Fleming. We return to Puccini for his heart breaking Madama Butterfly which premiered in 1904. Though situated in Japan, this is a thoroughly Italian opera with great passion and melody. We end with Philip Glass’s 1984 opera, Akhnaten. This opera is composed of a series of ritualistic scenes depicting moments in the life of Egypt’s Pharaoh, Akhnaten (sung by a counter-tenor) and his wife Nefertiti. The dramatic issue is the first known establishment of a monotheistic religion and its demise. Class meets October 1, October 22, November 5 and November 19.

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 and has had reviews published in “Wagneriana” – the associations newsletter.
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. His major instrument is the piano. He also studied voice, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, trumpet and percussion. He sang for 9 years with the Masterworks Chorale under the direction of Allen Lannom which included a concert tour of Romania.