Undergraduate

modules

Modules

MUS2009 : Performing Baroque Opera

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

•       to learn and be part of the production of an opera from the Baroque period, comprising the time period from c. 1600 to 1750.
•       to understand and practice historically-informed approaches to the performance of music of this period.
•       to give singers the opportunity to experience the staging of opera, and to give instrumentalists the specific experience of accompanying singers who may be acting on stage.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module introduces students to the performance of early opera, through a year-long study through practical workshops and seminar readings of a chosen set opera or opera scenes. Students will develop performance skills as singers, instrumentalists, and stage managers/assistant directors in ways that are informed by Historical Performance Practices. However, given the flexibility of resources deployed at the time of the composition of such works, part of the module may well include devising appropriate ways to deploy "modern" instruments in the absence of suitable "originals". Alongside professional vocal, instrumental, and movement coaching, students will gain an insight into what it takes to put an opera of this period onto the stage. Alongside practical workshops students will be required to undertake set readings that document historically-informed performance practice, the socio-cultural contexts inside of which early opera developed and was presented, and the ways in which such work is realised from the score through to public presentation. The range of characters and the musical styles in the piece allow for the participation of students with any background (classical, pop, or folk). The module will culminate in a fully-staged performance in a suitable venue, with the possibility of further performances in other venues/cities.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading103:0030:00independent study; preparation of essay
Guided Independent StudySkills practice910:0090:00individual practice
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops123:0036:00Requirements of a minimum of 2 hours per week in sem 1, rising to 4 hours per week in Sem 2
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity122:0024:00"sectional" rehearsals, and similar, undertaken each week outside of Teaching Schedule
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Preparation of Essay
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

workshops develop students' practical skills (K1, K3, S1, and S2 above).
directed research and reading introduce and develop contextual understanding of early opera in its historical period, as well as historically-informed approaches to performance (K1, K2, K3, S1 and S2 above).
skills practice is where individual musicians work on their own parts, embedding the material, and memorising (K3, S1, S2, and S3 above)
student-led group activity allows for further embedding of the materials for performance, developed memory, and also requires working as a team with a clear agenda to fulfil (K3, S3 and S4 above)
independent study is scheduled in order that students may bring together their individual and collective experience with the scholarly work they have undertaken throughout the module to produce a reflective and evaluative essay (K1, K2, K3, and S4 above).

Assessment Methods

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

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Performance902A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M40Essay 2000 Words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

•       The performance tests, in a professional-style public event students learning of the required practical, and by implication historically-informed performance practice skills for the module.
•       The essay gives students the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and at the same time relate these to what they have learned about opera/music dramas of this period, and the approaches and challenges to performing this kind of work in the present day.

Reading Lists

Timetable