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MUS 197 — Great Opera Performances

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Jul 31
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Jul 16
Unit: 1
Tuition: $240
Instructor(s): Speight Jenkins
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on July 3
On-campus course
7:00—8:50 pm
Jun 26—Jul 31
5 weeks
Drop By
Jul 16
1 Unit
Speight Jenkins
Please Note: No class on July 3
What does it take to make an unforgettable opera performance? A combination of superb singers, a dynamic conductor, plus a thought-provoking, intelligent production accomplishes this feat. It fulfills what Monteverdi, the first great opera composer, dreamed about in the 17th century. Since 1944, Speight Jenkins has attended well over a thousand opera performances, and only a few have had all of these vital ingredients. Those rare, special performances will be the subject of this course. Through live recordings and photographs, along with his recollections, Jenkins will revisit these performances and what made them unforgettable. Performances will include: Boris Godunov with Ezio Pinza and a Wieland Wagner Bayreuth Parsifal in the 1940s and ’50s; Tristan und Isolde with Birgit Nilsson and Otello with Placido Domingo, James Levine conducting, in Franco Zeffirelli’s Met production in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s; and the Munich Der Rosenkavalier with Martina Serafin as the Marschallin, I Puritani with Lawrence Brownlee, and Stephen Wadsworth’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen in the ’90s and 2000s. Occasionally an artist such as Carol Vaness or Beverly Sills made an average opera night something never to be forgotten—or the fates conspired to make a highly touted event an artistic disaster. Some of those memorable moments will come up in our course as well.

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.