fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Summer Quarter

Summer Quarter Underway
Late-Start Classes
Still Available
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Liberal Arts & Sciences

WSP 158 — Four Hundred Years of Great Opera Performances: The Power of Charisma

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Jul 20
Drop Deadline: Jul 13
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $210
Instructor(s): Speight Jenkins
Status: Closed
Please Note: Class schedule: Saturday, July 20, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm; 1:30 - 3:30 pm
Jul 20
1 day
Drop By
Jul 13
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Speight Jenkins
Please Note: Class schedule: Saturday, July 20, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm; 1:30 - 3:30 pm
Opera demands great contributions from directors, designers, choruses, and particularly conductors, but what often brings the public to performances is now and has always been great singing and charismatic singers. Charismatic singers are those artists who bring an unforgettable interpretation to the words and the music of a whole role or even a special moment in their performance. Certain artists stamp their interpretations of important roles so indelibly that in some cases they have made unusual operas popular and often have changed the way characters in more familiar operas are performed. As we view and hear live and studio performances, we will explore how such artists as Maria Callas, Leontyne Price, Birgit Nilsson, Leonie Rysanek, Carol Vaness, Giulietta Simionato, Marilyn Horne, Stephanie Blythe, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Alfredo Kraus, Lawrence Brownlee, Leonard Warren, and Cesare Siepi accomplished this feat through the power of their talent and their very presence. The course also will explore how and why even accurate performances of the same music, both at the opera’s premiere and later, can be much less effective and memorable. Unforgettable musical moments will be chosen from Gluck, Mozart, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Gershwin, Britten, and Jake Heggie.

Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera, Emeritus

Speight Jenkins led Seattle Opera from 1983 through 2014, producing ninety-two separate operas and traveling extensively in Europe and the United States. In 1981, he became the Metropolitan Opera’s host on the nationally televised Live from the Met broadcasts. He received a JD from Columbia and honorary doctorates from Seattle University, the University of Puget Sound, and the New England Conservatory.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.