What a variety of opera there is for us this Winter! From Handel to Gershwin, with Rossini, Donizetti and Wagner, our class, using audio and video selections, will be able to prepare for and enjoy great opera thanks to the Metropolitan Opera’s HD showings and live stagings in Boston. Gershwin’s great American Opera “Porgy and Bess” begins our class. With his classical background and Broadway expertise, Gershwin created the most popular American Opera for which the MET is mounting a brand new production. With “Don Pasquale”, Gaetano Donizetti created his Opera Buffa masterpiece. The typical ploy of the older man desiring the younger woman is full of bubbling music and comic episodes along with a moment of sentimentality when the comedy has gone too far. “Agrippina” is Handel’s first great operatic masterpiece. it is an “anti-heroic satirical comedy” involving Agrippina’s attempts to get her son Nerone to succeed Claudius as Roman Emperor. The arias are as beautiful as ever. Wagner’s first important opera, “The Flying Dutchman” is based on the legend of the ghost ship and the captain who swore an oath that he would round the Cape of Good Hope in the face of a violent storm. With music truly suggestive of stormy waters, Wagner equates this with the turbulent passions of the main characters, creating a riveting psychological drama. We close the class with Rossini’s first opera for Naples, “Elisabetta, regina d’Inghitlerra”. Using the form of Opera Seria (serious opera) including the use of a trouser role (female taking the part of a male), Rossini expands the musical palette with a fuller orchestra and the use of 2 lead tenors. Of course, historical accuracy is not to be expected. Class will meet January 28, February 4, February 25, March 3 and March 10.
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.