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MUS3066 : Opera on the Move

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Charlotte Bentley
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


• To introduce students to the history of opera beyond Europe and beyond the opera house
• To consider the historical relationships between music and other art forms
• To encourage an understanding of critical approaches to mobility studies, global history, the historiography of opera, and music and material culture
• To facilitate student engagement with a range of art music and related historical popular musics
• To develop students’ analytical and critical thinking skills

Outline Of Syllabus

This course will provide an introduction to operatic mobility, examining how opera has moved and been transformed in various contexts, and how those transformations give us insights into the history of music, people and places. We will explore how opera has been involved in processes of colonisation, creolisation and globalisation, as well as how adaptations of opera and aspects of opera’s material culture emerged from complex gender, economic and race relations.

The first part of the course will explore opera’s geographical movements beyond Europe from 1750 to the present and their socio-cultural contexts. The second part of the course, meanwhile, will take a different approach to mobility, by examining how opera has been adapted, reimagined and absorbed in wider cultural life beyond the opera house. We will use primary sources including sheet music arrangements, operatic souvenirs, poetry and novels, T.V. adverts and films, to explore how opera has been transformed for different social and cultural ends.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery30:301:30drop in tutorials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1160:30160:30Independent research, study and assessment preparation
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The course will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops. The lectures will introduce key concepts, debates, historical and cultural contexts, and musical works. The seminars, for which students will complete readings and worksheets, will offer the opportunity to discuss core issues in detail and for students to share ideas with each other. The workshops, meanwhile, will focus on introducing students to the relevant databases that will allow them to locate primary sources for their exhibitions, as well as on giving them the skills to use Omeka (the software they will need to use to curate their digital exhibitions).

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M301500-word rationale for an exhibition related to one of the module’s key themes. To be submitted mid-semester.
Design/Creative proj2A70A digital exhibition comprising 8-10 exhibits and accompanying critical labels (totalling c.2000 words).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Both assessments will test students’ understanding of the conceptual content of the course and will create opportunities for independent research. However, they will allow students to gain different technical and communication skills that will be useful to them as they progress in their careers, whether they decide to move into the workplace or continue with postgraduate studies. The written exercise will examine students’ ability to critique ideas from scholarly literature and develop a well-structured rationale for the digital exhibition they will curate. The digital exhibition will examine students’ ability to locate, select, and analyse appropriate audio-visual materials. They will need to present their scholarly research in a way that is compelling and informative for a more general audience.

Reading Lists