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A History of German Opera

COURSES

Instructor
Term
  • Autumn
Subject Code
GERMAN
Course Number
130A
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A History of German Opera

When we think of opera, and perhaps especially German opera, a list of stereotypes immediately springs to mind: tenors who refuse to die, horned helmets and blond braids, an artform so elite that it has lost all relevance in the contemporary world. While not discounting those images, this course will position opera at the center of Germany's historical and cultural development over the past three centuries - from early discussions about the country's place between the more culturally hegemonic Italy and France, to its struggle for unification in the 19th century, to the Third Reich's co-opting of all 'German' forms of expression to serve its ends. We will discuss German opera's link to movements like Romanticism and Expressionism, and to philosophers like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Along the way, we will learn how to listen to and talk about this very strange genre, and gain fluency in a range of musical styles and periods. No musical expertise required; taught in German. Prerequisite: GERLANG 21 or instructor permission.