WSP 81 — Mozart's Timeless Operas
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Nov 3
Time: 10:00 am—3:30 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 27
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Instructor(s): Speight Jenkins
10:00 am—3:30 pm
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Figaro, Don Giovanni, the young people in Così fan Tutte, all are as real in our time as they were in the 1780s. Mozart had begun composing opera in his early teens; with fourteen works behind him, he created three masterpiece operas that spoke to his contemporaries and still resonate with people of all ages. On the surface the music seems simple, but only great artists can both draw out its deeper meanings and vividly illustrate what makes these operas popular. In this one-day course, we will discuss how Mozart and his brilliant librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, managed to capture so much of what is crucial to the human condition, and how the music can be interpreted equally well in both the Italianate and Austrian singing traditions. We will discuss changing techniques of singing, acting, and playing Mozart, his amazing grasp of what artists can do, how both great and even less talented artists can make these operas successful, and even how differently Da Ponte’s words can be interpreted. We will show how these works, more than two centuries old, speak directly to contemporary human relationships and, in the hands of great artists, seem as modern and timely as when they were first composed.
Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera, EmeritusSpeight 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.