Oct 23, 2021  
College Catalog 2019-2020 
College Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

MHMUS 453 — Modernism in Opera

3 credits
Anne-Marie Reynolds

Prerequisite: MHMUS 311 . This course will consider 20th-century opera in relation to the Modernist movement and the attendant historical, social, political, and technological developments, and how it both reflected and shaped its time. At the turn of the 20th century, the world was generally viewed as a complex organism, moving toward its own perfection; the 20th century promised to be an improved version of the 19th. But perhaps sooner than anyone else, the artists (painters, writers, musicians) saw through the patina of well-being to the disillusionment and dissatisfaction beneath, and had the strongest premonitions of catastrophe. Artists felt they had a role to play in society that transcended simply creating something beautiful: they sought to uncover truths about their times at all costs, and to save humanity from spiritual decay. In addition to listening and viewing, we will learn about the operas studied (such as Wozzeck, Pelléas et Mélisande, Peter Grimes, and The Rake’s Progress) from reading what observers both past and present, including the creators themselves, had to say about their purpose and impact.