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Lifelong Learning: New York City

Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore: New York City

Fall 2019 Course: Opera (LLS 190NY)

Meets Thursdays, 6:45–9:15 p.m.
sept. 26 - Nov. 14
1211 Sixth Avenue (at 48th St.), Floor 38, Ropes & Gray

"No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible." - W.H. Auden

With its intense combinations of emotion, music, words, movement, stagecraft, sex, and murder, opera may be the most extravagant of all the performing arts. This course offers a composer's perspective on some of the seminal works of the 17th - 20th centuries. 

Open to anyone curious about the form. No prior knowledge of opera is assumed. The ability to read music is not required. 

Operas:

We will focus on the following, using audio recordings and supplemental readings:

  • Purcell, Dido and Aeneas
  • Mozart, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute
  • Verdi, Rigoletto and Otello
  • Puccini, Tosca
  • Britten, Peter Grimes

The Professor: 

Thomas Whitman, Swarthmore '82, earned a Ph.D. in Composition and Theory at UPenn. As a Luce Scholar in 1986-87, he studied traditional music and culture in Indonesia, He has taught at Swarthmore since 1990. Tom has composed five operas - most in collaboration with poet Nathalie Anderson of Swarthmore's Department of English Literature. He is now working on his sixth opera.