$35 USD per device. This program is 60 mins, including time for discussion to ask questions and exchange ideas. Suitable for all ages, no background required.

  • Friday, June 18, 2021 at 1:00 pm EST

La Traviata may be an audience favorite today, but Giuseppe Verdi’s 1853 tale of Violetta, the titular “fallen woman,” was controversial in its time. Without imposing moral judgement, Verdi forged and defended flesh and blood characters in all their passions, foibles, malevolence, and essential dignity. You’ll hear how glorious singing was the expressive key. We’ll also probe the thorny social implications of Verdi’s sympathetic portrayal. A central question for any opera composer: how to musically organize the sweeping interior world of a drama? You’ll discover how Verdi’s instinct and skill shaped the action’s ebb and flow.

You will:

  • Learn how Verdi conceived an opera with a compassionate treatment of the courtesan Violetta, that divided critics and the public.
  • Luxuriate in the work’s emblematic 19th-century singing styles.
  • Explore Verdi’s shaping of operatic flow with multi-part scenes that balanced characters, dramatic pacing, and musical contrasts.

Your educator David Johnson, is a musicologist whose areas of speciality include the Baroque period and the 19th century, with a focus on Richard Wagner, along with the history of rock music. He earned his PhD in Musicology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. At Hunter College and Marymount Manhattan College, he teaches survey courses on the history of Western music and seminars on rock history. David’s other courses have focused on Baroque music and American popular song. Previously he taught at Baruch College. He is also a composer, with works published on UbuWeb.

You can also sign up for our series Classical Music Masterworks.

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