How to Listen to and Understand Opera

Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite courses Greenberg is always entertaining, and just always so right and interesting! I have as many of his courses as I can afford! Have loved his courses for years! I have always been interested in Opera and know some well but this course will make you a fan!
Date published: 2020-02-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from What Opera Is The content was excellent BUT opera is not just hearing, it is seeing and video of the operas would have enhanced the overall understanding and enjoyment. I was disappointed that it was audio only.
Date published: 2020-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite Greenberg courses Professor Greenberg is one of my favorite GC lecturers. I have been working my way through every course he has recorded. He always presents the content in an entertaining and easy to understand manner. I also met him once, and he is a super nice person. This course is for people who love opera as well as people who don't get opera at all but are curious. Everyone will learn a lot and listen to some beautiful music in the process.
Date published: 2020-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Understand a wonderful art form Dr. Robert Greenberg is a music historian par excellence. He, is articulate, informative and gives spellbinding lecture.His enthusiasm for music is infectious. He clarifies the importance of opera to western music and makes the history of opera a true delight.
Date published: 2019-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of your very best courses. This lecturer is excellent - so good that we ordered his course on Mozart's operas.
Date published: 2019-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bravo! Bravo! "How to listen to and understand opera" - better than expected. I am a novice and had a hard time appreciating the opera I head; I wanted to more fully understand the music, history and drama. Robert Greenberg's "How to listen to and understand opera" could not have been more perfect. Yes, the video is quite old (80's?) but still very relevant. Greenberg's approach to present overviews as well as delve into detail gave me both a broad perspective as well as an intimate understanding of each era's styles, leaders and innovators. Laced with bits of opera chosen to express each session, it was enlightening to match his words with actual performance. I regret that he was not able to give credit to the performers (copyright issues) and appreciated that at least this was explained. For the most part, emphasis was not on opera singers by name but rather on composers (and librettist - and thank you for repeatedly defining new terms). After each class I could do my homework, watch the opera highlighted (Met Opera On Demand) and then go back and listen again to the class to better understand what I had just seen and heard - more than once with Wagner! I loved Greenberg's enthusiasm, dry sense of humor and stories of gossip of the time. It made everything quite real and relevant to today, hundreds of years later. Finishing the last class was a sad day. Robert Greenberg's "How to listen to and understand opera" - Bravo!
Date published: 2019-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from opera Dr. Greenberg is amazing. This is my eight or ninth course of his I have purchased.Never disappoints. I hope with this I can finally appreciate opera!
Date published: 2019-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great features Interesting and fun. Learning about the plots and composers helped me understand and now I love opera.
Date published: 2019-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You'll learn much more than just opera Why did the French Revolution happen? Why did the Franco-Prussian War and World War I happen? In this course, you will not get the answers to these questions. But you will get an excellent background on how opera developed. That development is part of a larger story of the cultural development of national European cultures since 1600. That knowledge will help flesh out an understanding of the political, military and cultural history of Europe. You'll also learn a great deal about music and about opera, but I think that goes without saying. Prof. Greenberg's delivery is fantastic. He's an absolute wordsmith and if he didn't teach music, he could get a job in comedy. The only thing wrong with his delivery is an insistence on using gender-neutral terms so rigorous that he often ends up sounding kind of ridiculous. I would think that the use of felicitous language should trump political correctness. His gender-neutral-speak sticks out like a sore thumb and gets jarring sometimes, especially in the context of his otherwise fantastic delivery.
Date published: 2019-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous instructor, While I still have some lessons to go, I always look forward to returning for the next class. Dr. Greenberg makes each class exciting and fun.
Date published: 2019-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Course yet I I think this is one of the best courses I've experienced here. I've always been interested in opera, listened to them on Saturday afternoon on the radio, and seen a few live, but I never really had much understanding. This course took care of that understanding. It also did it in a delightful way. Dr. Greenberg is a performer as well as a knowledgeable teacher, and that made this experience truly enjoyable. I was also found and was inspired to use the Met on Demand app for iPad and Apple TV. With this app I was able to view each of the operas the instructor focused on.
Date published: 2019-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Opera, Really I went to my first opera about a year ago and after crying through the performance I decided I loved it. When I seen How to Understand Opera on the Great Courses list I had to buy it to increase my understanding. Once I started to listen to the lectures I could not pass a night without listening to the presentations by Professor Greenberg. The subject intrigues me and the study of the definition and history of the opera has made me more appreciative of the presentation where the word is enhanced by the music and superb voices. Now when my mind wanders with the music to an understanding of a language that I don't understand provoking emotions of appreciation for the characters and their problems; I know why, Opera.
Date published: 2019-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Lectures The lectures are truly amazing; I learned so much from them. The ones on Verdi's Otello and Wagner's Tristan and Isolde left me breathless. If you love and want to learn more about opera, this course is a must!
Date published: 2018-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Learning Experience The young version of Prof. Greenberg gave me a new appreciation for opera. It was also very enjoyable witnessing the evolution of Prof. Greenberg, having taken two other of his courses. I am sure I will be returning for more knowledge. Thank you.
Date published: 2018-09-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Opera for beginners. I'd been eyeing this course for months, and finally decided to buy it. Prof. Greenberg is quite entertaining in his presentation on the developmental history of opera, and the major contributions brought by the various composers he discusses; what to listen for; and so forth--most instructive (and this, of course, was the principal aim of the course). I was, however, terribly disappointed that the were no opera scenes--only rather poor quality (i.e., sound quality) excerpts from SFO productions (with occasional still photos from a given scene).. The saving grace was the accompanying text and its highlighting. I would recommend this to a novice, and would recommend purchasing the least expensive version. The video/DVD adds little.
Date published: 2018-07-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Instructor was a little pretentious but content wa Very good review before we actually visited the site this past fall.
Date published: 2017-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great so far! I have only listened to the first 4 lectures, but from the first one, I was hooked. The lecturer is informative as well as entertaining. He has a fun sense of humor that adds to understanding the subject. Looking forward to the next lecture.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Fine Course Have not finished all of it but I certainly will. Very informative and inspiring. Inspiring me to listen to Monteverdi and more of Dr. Greenberg.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great overview This course gives a musical and historical overview of the various great composers and genres of opera. I learned a lot and Professor Greenberg is, as usual, well informed, organized, interesting, and entertaining.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The place to learn opera from scratch I knew nothing about opera but I am going to be able to know how to enjoy it thoroughly when I finish this course.
Date published: 2017-03-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dated presentation but brilliant content. I have been studying Monteverdi in depth over the last year; I have read many books, looked at the music scores, listened to CDs and watched DVDs, so I wondered if this course would have anything to add to that. At first it was a little disappointing. It was recorded about 20 years ago, and others have referred to the dated style of presentation. I also found that some of the pronunciation jarred, for example the first syllable of 'chittarone' should sound like "keet" and not like "chit". The content was far better. Professor Greenberg (who delighted in telling us that the Italian version of his name was 'Monte Verdi') had many insights which I had not picked up from elsewhere. This is a good course, and it should be worthwhile remaking it so that the presentation is up to the standard of the content.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great intro to opera I loved the course, although I wish that Prof. could have just jumped in with opera proper; the first 4 lectures were not what I wanted. However, the rest was wonderful and I learned so much, especially after getting DVDs of the operas. I also bought the course on Mozart's operas.... now we need more courses on each of the other major composers!
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Purchased as a gift Unable to access the audio product so can't review. Would like to log on and try.
Date published: 2016-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Greenberg Classic This is the fifth Great Courses class I have taken taught by Professor Greenberg. Let me preface this by saying that prior to beginning Professor Greenberg's courses I had almost no knowledge about classical music. Deciding to begin the series of his classes has completely changed my musical tastes. I am certainly no musical expert (very, very far from that), but Professor Greenberg has opened the door for me to not just listen to but to actually really enjoy what he terms "concert music" (i.e., classical music in the vernacular). I have gone from someone who rarely listened to classical music (I'll stick to the vernacular term) to now listening almost exclusively to classical music. However, I had yet to venture into opera beyond the small taste Professor Greenberg provides in How to Listen to and Understand Great Music. So, as a Professor Greenberg fan, I decided to give this a try, and I am very glad that I did. This was an eye-opening experience to an artistic genre that I had never experienced beyond seeing Les Miserables a couple times. If you read through all of the reviews, you are going to see some reviewers that don't like Professor Greenberg's style or somewhat corny sense of humor. I am in the group that really likes his style. If he approached this topic with a more serious, or perhaps snobbish tone, I would be very turned off and would have a hard time learning this subject. Instead, his relaxed, approachable, and sometimes corny style makes the topic approachable. I can't say that I'm going to be rushing off to see an opera after finishing this course, but it gave me a deeper appreciation and awareness that I previously lacked.
Date published: 2016-06-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ah, Early Greenberg After taking many of the courses taught by Robert Greenberg, I have learned one lesson that stands a TGC learner in good stead. If it's an early course, the likelihood is that it will be a winner. Greenberg is very fastidious in his early courses. He sets a high bar. The organization is superb. There's a lot of effort and discipline in the teaching. And, typically, the content and substance are rich. Further, the schtick humor, which is overly abundant in the later courses, is under reasonable control. And the tendencies to go off on inapt historical tangents or to make cute, but bizarre allusions to, and comparisons with, modern day cultural phenomena are not as apparent here as they are in many later courses. There are some very nice aspects of this course, in particular. The time spent with Orfeo was a treat to me. It will never be something I want to explore much further, but I liked learning about this pioneering work in some detail. The teaching of the two Mozart operas was exemplary, mostly in that there was great focus on the music itself. This is always where Greenberg does his best teaching. The Verdi lectures are fine, far better, in fact, than in the course he teaches on Verdi. In sum, this is a nice broad course, with many worthy specific features, and one I would recommend to someone wanting a survey course in opera. It doesn't quite rise to five stars, in my view, however. The introduction is too long. There is too much history that fails to serve the music and, thus, not enough music. And the last several lectures on French, German, and Russian opera, with a dose of Puccini, give coverage, but very little depth. They have the feel of the Verdi course, in which Greenberg spends too much time reading from the libretto, too little time teaching about the music, and then letting the listener hear just a touch of the music itself. Nevertheless, this is, overall, a good and worthwhile course.
Date published: 2015-04-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from How to Listen to and Understand Opera I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It moves quickly - it is an introductory course, after all, not an in-depth study. I am fairly new to opera, only really trying to get into it in the last 3 or 4 years, so this course was perfect for me. I now listen with different ears and I have a deeper appreciation for the personal struggles of the composers. I really enjoyed Dr. Greenberg's presentation style, including his "Freudian slaps". And I really appreciate his defence of Puccini, whom I adore. Yes, he is a composer for the masses, but nothing can bring you to tears or joy like Puccini. A few words of advice: purchase the course in video format (there are a lot of visuals that make the course much more interesting) and purchase the companion book (it will make your journey much more meaningful). Thank you, Dr. G.reenberg and The Great Courses. This has been a wonderful way to spend 30 hours
Date published: 2015-04-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Learn Opera by not watching it? I quit watching this course about half way through. How do you learn about an art form by not watching it? Opera is not just the music. I would like my money back.
Date published: 2015-01-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very disappointing I bought this course after I heard Prof. Greenberg's Verdi course. I was not terribly impressed with that, but I thought the problem must be that the course covered The Life and Operas of Verdi, with, IMHO, way too much emphasis on the life and not enough on the operas. Surely, I thought, a course on how to listen to opera would not have that problem. Alas, I was wrong. Prof. Greenberg is an appalling lecturer. He seems to think reading aloud using funny voices is in any way useful or entertaining. The voices are annoying and very distracting. I found myself wondering just what Muppet character he was trying to imitate. Not useful, at all. There is far too much reading aloud of texts which are included in the course guide. This unnecessary reading takes up considerable time which might otherwise be devoted to, say, learning how to listen to and understand opera. Playing a lengthy excerpt and then declaring it extraordinary contributes nothing to my understanding. What makes the passage extraordinary is the unanswered question. His lectures are disorganized, which is quite a feat considering several are supposed to cover a specific opera. Odd little (and sometimes not so little) rants are peppered throughout which have little or nothing to do with the ostensible topic of the lecture. He often interrupts himself when he realizes he has forgotten to include a definition of a term he has been using, thus disrupting the flow of the lecture. The amount of actual information that might enable me to have a deeper or indeed any understanding of how to listen to and understand opera is minimal at best. Altogether a very regrettable purchase. The money would have been better spent on some opera recordings and libretti.
Date published: 2014-10-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Could Use an Update I consider Prof Greenberg's work, taken as a whole, as the best of the many Great Courses offerings I have purchased. However this course on opera, clearly one of the earliest works, could use an update. The course has the feel of being out of date--not the content--but the presentation. The problem is that the good professor is basically reading the text he is holding, which is distracting. Perhaps this course was prepared before the days of the teleprompter. I don't want to be overly critical because this fellow is my favorite of the many Great Courses lecturers I have experienced. He has, over the years, done a remarkable job covering a great many areas in the field of music. I just feel this particular course could be brightened up. Thank you, Paul Evans
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from From an opera grump to an enthusiast Yes, I play the classical violin, yes, I love music - but opera? To me this had remained a mysterious and not always pleasant presentation of music, and I was convinced that I simply didn't quite understand it. I must say that I was true. I simply didn't understand it. And this lecture truly changed a part of my life. Mr. Greenberg draws his audience into this cosmos of music. He explains how opera came to be, why it was invented and what the first operas were (I love Orfeo now, I bought the Ponnelle version as DVD afterwards). With many music samples and great fun analysis he also explains how opera style changed through time - and he presents some of the greatest masterworks and goes through them - at times in detail (which makes this course even more valuable). I got to know so many opera works, started understanding the differences between them, their basic ideas, what was new and what was old - a whole new world of art has been opened up for me. I can totally recommend to listen to this course on the way to work - it lighted up my days and I kept thinking about it all day through. Such a pity that it had to be over at some point - and big thanks to Mr. Greenberg!
Date published: 2013-11-18
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Introduction and Words and Music, I
1: Introduction and Words and Music, I

In the first two lectures we develop a methodology for listening to and understanding opera. We are introduced to the concept of opera as a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts in its combination of soliloquy, dialogue, scenery, action, and continuous music. We see how music can evoke what words cannot express; the composer is the dramatist. This combination of words and music endows op...

47 min
Introduction and Words and Music, II
2: Introduction and Words and Music, II

In the first two lectures we develop a methodology for listening to and understanding opera. We are introduced to the concept of opera as a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts in its combination of soliloquy, dialogue, scenery, action, and continuous music. We see how music can evoke what words cannot express; the composer is the dramatist. This combination of words and music endows op...

45 min
A Brief History of Vocal Expression in Music, I
3: A Brief History of Vocal Expression in Music, I

Throughout the history of European music, style and form have changed constantly. Beginning in ancient Greece, we trace the history of vocal music through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We focus on the rise of popular secular music in a world hitherto dominated by the music of the Roman Catholic Church. Renaissance composers turned increasingly to the ancient Greek ideal for inspiration. The...

44 min
A Brief History of Vocal Expression in Music, II
4: A Brief History of Vocal Expression in Music, II

Throughout the history of European music, style and form have changed constantly. Beginning in ancient Greece, we trace the history of vocal music through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We focus on the rise of popular secular music in a world hitherto dominated by the music of the Roman Catholic Church. Renaissance composers turned increasingly to the ancient Greek ideal for inspiration. The...

47 min
Invention of Opera and Monteverdi's Orfeo, I
5: Invention of Opera and Monteverdi's Orfeo, I

In Lectures 5 through 8 we review the Greek idea of music as it related to music of the Renaissance. We see the evolution of intermezzo as a precursor to the first real opera. We look at the role of the Florentine Camerata in the development of opera, and we examine in depth the first real opera, Monteverdi's Orfeo of 1607....

46 min
Invention of Opera and Monteverdi's Orfeo, II
6: Invention of Opera and Monteverdi's Orfeo, II

In Lectures 5 through 8 we review the Greek idea of music as it related to music of the Renaissance. We see the evolution of intermezzo as a precursor to the first real opera. We look at the role of the Florentine Camerata in the development of opera, and we examine in depth the first real opera, Monteverdi's Orfeo of 1607....

45 min
Invention of Opera and Monteverdi's Orfeo, III
7: Invention of Opera and Monteverdi's Orfeo, III

In Lectures 5 through 8 we review the Greek idea of music as it related to music of the Renaissance. We see the evolution of intermezzo as a precursor to the first real opera. We look at the role of the Florentine Camerata in the development of opera, and we examine in depth the first real opera, Monteverdi's Orfeo of 1607....

45 min
Invention of Opera and Monteverdi's Orfeo, IV
8: Invention of Opera and Monteverdi's Orfeo, IV

In Lectures 5 through 8 we review the Greek idea of music as it related to music of the Renaissance. We see the evolution of intermezzo as a precursor to the first real opera. We look at the role of the Florentine Camerata in the development of opera, and we examine in depth the first real opera, Monteverdi's Orfeo of 1607....

47 min
The Growth of Opera, the Development of Italian Opera Seria, and Mozart's Idomeneo, I
9: The Growth of Opera, the Development of Italian Opera Seria, and Mozart's Idomeneo, I

Lectures 9 through 12 review the main features of early opera and trace its growth from the early 17th century up to Mozart's Idomeneo of 1781. As opera became a public entertainment, its literary and dramatic substance deteriorated. We learn how the formulaic rigidity of opera seria led to vocal abuses, and how Gluck represented a new wave of reform, creating the model for the next generation of ...

45 min
The Growth of Opera, the Development of Italian Opera Seria, and Mozart's Idomeneo, II
10: The Growth of Opera, the Development of Italian Opera Seria, and Mozart's Idomeneo, II

Lectures 9 through 12 review the main features of early opera and trace its growth from the early 17th century up to Mozart's Idomeneo of 1781. As opera became a public entertainment, its literary and dramatic substance deteriorated. We learn how the formulaic rigidity of opera seria led to vocal abuses, and how Gluck represented a new wave of reform, creating the model for the next generation of ...

45 min
The Growth of Opera, the Development of Italian Opera Seria, and Mozart's Idomeneo, III
11: The Growth of Opera, the Development of Italian Opera Seria, and Mozart's Idomeneo, III

Lectures 9 through 12 review the main features of early opera and trace its growth from the early 17th century up to Mozart's Idomeneo of 1781. As opera became a public entertainment, its literary and dramatic substance deteriorated. We learn how the formulaic rigidity of opera seria led to vocal abuses, and how Gluck represented a new wave of reform, creating the model for the next generation of ...

46 min
The Growth of Opera, the Development of Italian Opera Seria, and Mozart's Idomeneo, IV
12: The Growth of Opera, the Development of Italian Opera Seria, and Mozart's Idomeneo, IV

Lectures 9 through 12 review the main features of early opera and trace its growth from the early 17th century up to Mozart's Idomeneo of 1781. As opera became a public entertainment, its literary and dramatic substance deteriorated. We learn how the formulaic rigidity of opera seria led to vocal abuses, and how Gluck represented a new wave of reform, creating the model for the next generation of ...

46 min
The Rise of Opera Buffa and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, I
13: The Rise of Opera Buffa and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, I

In this study of comic opera-opera buffa-we see how comic opera, with its roots in popular folklore, developed separately from the opera seria of the aristocracy. We learn how the more accessible, populist opera buffa was championed by Enlightenment progressives such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Opera buffa character types and conventions are discussed, and one of the greatest examples of opera buffa...

46 min
The Rise of Opera Buffa and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, II
14: The Rise of Opera Buffa and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, II

In this study of comic opera-opera buffa-we see how comic opera, with its roots in popular folklore, developed separately from the opera seria of the aristocracy. We learn how the more accessible, populist opera buffa was championed by Enlightenment progressives such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Opera buffa character types and conventions are discussed, and one of the greatest examples of opera buffa...

44 min
The Rise of Opera Buffa and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, III
15: The Rise of Opera Buffa and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, III

In this study of comic opera-opera buffa-we see how comic opera, with its roots in popular folklore, developed separately from the opera seria of the aristocracy. We learn how the more accessible, populist opera buffa was championed by Enlightenment progressives such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Opera buffa character types and conventions are discussed, and one of the greatest examples of opera buffa...

46 min
The Rise of Opera Buffa and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, IV
16: The Rise of Opera Buffa and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, IV

In this study of comic opera-opera buffa-we see how comic opera, with its roots in popular folklore, developed separately from the opera seria of the aristocracy. We learn how the more accessible, populist opera buffa was championed by Enlightenment progressives such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Opera buffa character types and conventions are discussed, and one of the greatest examples of opera buffa...

47 min
The Bel Canto Style and Rossini's The Barber of Seville, I
17: The Bel Canto Style and Rossini's The Barber of Seville, I

Lectures 17 and 18 discuss bel canto, the dominant style of 19th-century Italian opera. Its features of appealing melodies and florid melodic embellishments are suited to the Italian language. Bel canto operas are based on comic, predictable plots and one-dimensional characters to indulge the contemporary Italian taste for pure entertainment. Our frame of reference is the landmark bel canto opera,...

46 min
The Bel Canto Style and Rossini's The Barber of Seville, II
18: The Bel Canto Style and Rossini's The Barber of Seville, II

Lectures 17 and 18 discuss bel canto, the dominant style of 19th-century Italian opera. Its features of appealing melodies and florid melodic embellishments are suited to the Italian language. Bel canto operas are based on comic, predictable plots and one-dimensional characters to indulge the contemporary Italian taste for pure entertainment. Our frame of reference is the landmark bel canto opera,...

48 min
Verdi and Otello, I
19: Verdi and Otello, I

The Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi and opera seria are the focus of Lectures 19 through 22. We learn how Verdi dominated the operatic scene in Italy for more than half a century by the power of his beautiful melodies and his focus on human emotions and psychological insight. We see how Verdi gave the orchestra an increasingly important role in the drama, and how he used technique to endow his ope...

46 min
Verdi and Otello, II
20: Verdi and Otello, II

The Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi and opera seria are the focus of Lectures 19 through 22. We learn how Verdi dominated the operatic scene in Italy for more than half a century by the power of his beautiful melodies and his focus on human emotions and psychological insight. We see how Verdi gave the orchestra an increasingly important role in the drama, and how he used technique to endow his ope...

46 min
Verdi and Otello, III
21: Verdi and Otello, III

The Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi and opera seria are the focus of Lectures 19 through 22. We learn how Verdi dominated the operatic scene in Italy for more than half a century by the power of his beautiful melodies and his focus on human emotions and psychological insight. We see how Verdi gave the orchestra an increasingly important role in the drama, and how he used technique to endow his ope...

46 min
Verdi and Otello, IV
22: Verdi and Otello, IV

The Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi and opera seria are the focus of Lectures 19 through 22. We learn how Verdi dominated the operatic scene in Italy for more than half a century by the power of his beautiful melodies and his focus on human emotions and psychological insight. We see how Verdi gave the orchestra an increasingly important role in the drama, and how he used technique to endow his ope...

45 min
French Opera, I
23: French Opera, I

In Lectures 23 and 24 we give an overview of the evolution of a distinctly French style; explain why and how French opera is different from Italian opera; and emphasize that operatic content, both musical and dramatic, is most often a function of the language, politics, and economic class of its consumers. French opera composers discussed include Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Jean-Jac...

45 min
French Opera, II
24: French Opera, II

In Lectures 23 and 24 we give an overview of the evolution of a distinctly French style; explain why and how French opera is different from Italian opera; and emphasize that operatic content, both musical and dramatic, is most often a function of the language, politics, and economic class of its consumers. French opera composers discussed include Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Jean-Jac...

46 min
German Opera Comes of Age
25: German Opera Comes of Age

In this lecture we learn how German opera owed its evolution to German folklore and the requirements of the German language. We see how it came into being with Mozart's The Magic Flute of 1791, and how it was indebted to the traditional German entertainment of singspiel. Weber's Der Freishütz is examined as the work that established 19th-century German opera....

48 min
Richard Wagner and Tristan und Isolde, I
26: Richard Wagner and Tristan und Isolde, I

Lectures 26 and 27 examine the contribution of the paradoxical Richard Wagner to operatic history. Wagner's life and career is summarized. We look at Wagner's theories, his admiration for ancient Greek drama, and his invention of leitmotif. Schopenhauer's philosophy and its influence on Wagner's concept of music drama are also discussed. Finally, we examine Wagner's landmark opera Tristan und Isol...

45 min
Richard Wagner and Tristan und Isolde, II
27: Richard Wagner and Tristan und Isolde, II

Lectures 26 and 27 examine the contribution of the paradoxical Richard Wagner to operatic history. Wagner's life and career is summarized. We look at Wagner's theories, his admiration for ancient Greek drama, and his invention of leitmotif. Schopenhauer's philosophy and its influence on Wagner's concept of music drama are also discussed. Finally, we examine Wagner's landmark opera Tristan und Isol...

46 min
Late Romantic German Opera-Richard Strauss and Salome
28: Late Romantic German Opera-Richard Strauss and Salome

In this lecture, Richard Strauss's opera Salome is discussed as an example of late romantic German opera. After an overview of Strauss's early life, we examine his psychopathological and erotic Salome and the reasons why it is one of the most controversial operas of all time....

46 min
Russian Opera, I
29: Russian Opera, I

This lecture on Russian opera traces the causes, history, and character of Russian musical nationalism. Glinka and his opera Ruslan and Lyudmila are discussed as the foundation of Russian opera leading the way for The Russian Five and the pinnacle of Russian nationalist opera, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov....

46 min
Russian Opera, II
30: Russian Opera, II

This lecture on Russian opera traces the causes, history, and character of Russian musical nationalism. Glinka and his opera Ruslan and Lyudmila are discussed as the foundation of Russian opera leading the way for The Russian Five and the pinnacle of Russian nationalist opera, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov....

42 min
Verismo, Puccini, and Tosca, I
31: Verismo, Puccini, and Tosca, I

The final lectures examine opera verismo: its origins, character, and greatest exponent-Giacomo Puccini. Puccini's virtues and faults are discussed-especially his marvelous power of lyricism, sometimes pursued at the expense of dramatic reality. The second act of Tosca is analyzed as an example of his style and as one of the most powerful acts in all opera. The study concludes with a musical illus...

46 min
Verismo, Puccini, and Tosca, II
32: Verismo, Puccini, and Tosca, II

The final lectures examine opera verismo: its origins, character, and greatest exponent-Giacomo Puccini. Puccini's virtues and faults are discussed-especially his marvelous power of lyricism, sometimes pursued at the expense of dramatic reality. The second act of Tosca is analyzed as an example of his style and as one of the most powerful acts in all opera. The study concludes with a musical illus...

46 min
Robert Greenberg

For thousands of years cultures have celebrated themselves through their music. Let us always be willing and able to join that celebration by listening as carefully as we can to what, through music, we have to say to one another.

ALMA MATER

University of California, Berkeley

INSTITUTION

San Francisco Performances

About Robert Greenberg

Dr. Robert Greenberg is Music Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances. A graduate of Princeton University, Professor Greenberg holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of California, Berkeley. He has seen his compositions-which include more than 45 works for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal ensembles-performed all over the world, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, England, Ireland, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands. He has served on the faculties of the University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Hayward; and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has lectured for some of the most prestigious musical and arts organizations in the United States, including the San Francisco Symphony, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Van Cliburn Foundation, and the Chicago Symphony. For The Great Courses, he has recorded more than 500 lectures on a range of composers and classical music genres. Professor Greenberg is a Steinway Artist. His many other honors include three Nicola de Lorenzo Composition Prizes and a Koussevitzky commission from the Library of Congress. He has been profiled in various major publications, including The Wall Street Journal; Inc. magazine; and the London Times.

https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/robert-greenberg