Opera is the highest form of musical drama. At once romantic, inspired and nostalgic it is a roller coaster ride through the emotions. Full of thrilling highs and lows, we will delve into how music takes us to exotic places and turns us on our heads. The opera studied will include some works programmed by Opera in the Heights and Houston Grand Opera, including "Tosca", "Eugene Onegin", "La Boheme", "Marriage of Figaro", "Doctor Atomic", "Rigoletto", "Aida", and "Amal and the Night Visitors".
Long before pop musicians such as Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel introduced worldbeat in the 1980s, nineteenth-century European composers were already fascinated with indigenous music, both from their own nations and from exotic locales. They usually did not have access to authentic folk music at first hand, but they incorporated what they did hear, and what they imagined, into their music. In the age of European nationalism, musical folklorism became a way for composers to distinguish their own culture on the one hand, and to explore the cultures of distant lands on the other. In this course we will study the impact of folklorism and exoticism on 19th century instrumental music and opera. We will listen to the music of a wide range of composers, including Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Verdi, Bizet, Bartok, Glinka, Chopin, and Mahler.