MUS 218 Dramatic Expression in Opera (Same as INTR 264 and Theatre 218) (Not offered 2004-2005)
Devotees regard opera as the supreme collaborative art. At the same time, operatic production is seen by others simply as the occasion for stilted and formulaic dramatic performances. This course is an introduction to operatic performance, experimenting with acting and staging techniques that work to release the full expressive potential of musical theatre. It will combine exercises in acting techniques with vocal coaching, and work towards achieving a synthesis of acting and singing that encourages students to test the limits of their physical and imaginative resources. Although the class will deal with some critical and analytical works on opera production, the focus will be on class exercises and the performance of operatic scenes, both solo and in ensemble. As an interdisciplinary workshop, the course will test common misconceptions about the physical limitations imposed by vocal expression, and will encourage singers to transcend realistic acting models entirely inadequate for the intense physical and spiritual engagement that the operatic art demands. At the same time, we are committed to Joseph Kerman's notion that, in opera, "music is the medium that bears the ultimate responsibility for articulating drama," so that experimentation with acting techniques in an operatic scene will always be informed by a close analysis of the music that inspires it. Format: interdisciplinary workshop. Evaluation will be based on class participation, interim and final projects Prerequisites: auditions and permission of instructors. Enrollment limit: 12. Preferences based on auditions.