Day School: An Introduction to Opera

Ref: C3743076

Opera - the presentation of dramatic works on stage through a combination of singing and acting - began around 1600 in Italy. Since then it has seen many changes in style and form, from the baroque through bel canto to the romantic and verismo (reality). Through this time it has both enthralled and infuriated audiences and critics. In this course, I will talk about these different styles of opera, with lots of audio and video examples, to try and explain why I believe it is the most complete and engaging of the stage arts.

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by The Education and Skills Funding agency and does not have a fee waiver but concessions may be available. Contact the branch for further details.

Course aim

Opera is often seen as an exotic and irrational art form, with some strange practices such as a woman playing the part of a man. By examining how opera has developed from around 1600, this course aims to clarify and de-mystify the subject.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course is for anyone with an interest in and desire to learn more about opera.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the origins of opera.
  • Identify different styles of opera and relate them to their historical context
  • Identify the composers who influenced the development of opera
  • Describe how opera has developed in the 20th century

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Learners who have already experienced opera in some form will be encouraged to share their views.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Any prior experience of watching or listening to opera will be helpful.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Information on relevant books, CD recordings and videos will be given out during the course, as well as information about forthcoming opera performances.

Download full course information sheet

Day School: An Introduction to Opera


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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