How to Listen to and Understand Opera : The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert Greenberg Ph.D. University of California Berkeley
  • Series: The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music
  • 24 hrs and 23 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

To watch any opera lover listen to a favorite work, eyes clenched tight in concentration and passion, often betraying a tear, is to be almost envious. What must it be like, you might think, to love a piece of music so much?
And now one of music's most gifted teachers is offering you the opportunity to answer that very question, in a spellbinding series of 32 lectures that will introduce you to the transcendentally beautiful performing art that has enthralled audiences for more than 400 years.
As you meet the geniuses - including the likes of Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, and Puccini - who have produced some of the landmark artistic achievements of the form, and listen to many of their most beautiful moments, you'll grasp how the addition of music can reveal truths beyond what mere spoken words can convey, and how opera's unique marriage of words and music makes the whole far greater than the sum of its parts.
Beginning with opera's origins in the early 17th century and continuing into the 20th, you'll trace the art's evolution and its ability to convey every shade of human emotion, whether sorrow or joy, drama or buffoonery. You'll understand how different types of voices enhance character. And you'll understand how the invention of the aria gave operatic composers a new power to make human emotions soar, adding to the impact of what continues to be one of the most beautiful musical forms ever devised.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Would you consider the audio edition of How to Listen to and Understand Opera to be better than the print version?

If this were relevant the answer would be yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Listen to and Understand Opera?

Hearing excerpts from Verdi's Othello after hearing how the libretto was written by Boito, following his reconciliation with Verdi after decades.

What about Professor Robert Greenberg’s performance did you like?

I liked his enthusiasm and his insight, combined with his humour.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The operatic works were emotionally engaging, particularly when the context was explained by Professor Greenberg.

Any additional comments?

A truly great audiobook, which opened up a whole new field of exploration and enjoyment for me.

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- Stephen

Never knew opera could be so much fun or so funny

What made the experience of listening to How to Listen to and Understand Opera the most enjoyable?

Lots of insight into the world of opera and the way pieces are constructed and the different forms and style

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Listen to and Understand Opera?

The marriage of figaro lots of information and insight. Also made the funny side stand out

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- Andy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses