AS376 428 - Mozart Operas

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first opera in 1767 at the age of 11. By the time of his death at age 35, he had written 22 full-length operas. Many of these operas are still performed today in opera houses around the world. In this course, we will discuss the enduring popularity of these works. We will discover how these operas were created, delving into the many important collaborations Mozart had with singers, librettists, impresarios, and patrons. We will analyze the words and music of the operas and how they combine to create three-dimensional characters for which his operas are known, such as the melancholy but determined Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, or the cowardly but loyal Papageno in The Magic Flute. Cultural norms have shifted dramatically between Mozart’s time and ours, and we will examine how Mozart’s operas have been received from their premieres through to today. We will think about how the operas have been translated, adapted, and circulated to different audiences in different eras and locations. Finally, we will reflect on our position as modern audience members, watching recent productions of the operas which reinterpret the works in alternative settings or times and studying the ways in which opera companies promote Mozart’s works.
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Fall 2019
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