Mozart Opera

  • Module tutor: Dr Áine Sheil
  • Level: C/4 (1st year students), I/5 (2nd year students), H/6 (3rd year students)

Aims and content

Since the late eighteenth century, the operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have formed a core part of the opera repertory. This project will examine some of the composer’s mature operas, focusing in particular on Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni. In order to understand these works more fully, we will investigate the genres of opera buffa and Singspiel and will pay close attention to the theatrical environment in which Mozart worked. We will also examine in detail extracts from the operas, looking in particular at how Mozart constructed effective act finales. Taking into account the reception and production histories of the works, we will consider how the operas have survived and will investigate how they continue to serve as vehicles for creativity, commerce and controversy.

Assessment

An essay of approximately 5000 words, on a topic of the student’s choosing, to be agreed in advance with the project tutor.

Reading and listening

Listening and viewing:

Any of the Mozart operas, but particularly those mentioned in the ‘Aims and Content’ section. Ideally you will listen to a CD recording while following the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe edition of the score (the collected critical edition available in the library). You may also view any of the recordings of Mozart opera available on DVD in the library or on the Opera in Video database available via the Library’s electronic resources.

Reading (a full reading list will be made available at the start of the project):

  • Rice, John A. Mozart on the Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Ford, Charles C. Music, Sexuality and the Enlightenment in Mozart’s Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012.
  • Heartz, Daniel and Thomas Bauman. Mozart’s Operas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.
  • Till, Nicholas. Mozart and the Enlightenment: Truth, Virtue and Beauty in Mozart’s Operas. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993
  • Branscombe, Peter. W.A. Mozart: Die Zauberflöte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991
  • Carter, Tim. W.A. Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  • Brown, Bruce Alan. W.A. Mozart: Così fan tutte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Rushton, Julian. W.A. Mozart: Don Giovanni. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the taught part of the module all students should:

  • show knowledge and understanding of the significance of Mozart opera within the opera repertory
  • demonstrate engagement and familiarity with key aspects of the works introduced in the project
  • have gained insight into the historical context in which the works were originally presented  
  • be in a position to evaulate critically Mozart reception and Mozart opera stagings

First years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-A6

Second years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes B1-B6

Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1-C6