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Dartmouth College

Introduction to German Opera

Dartmouth College via Coursera


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This course gives us an introduction to German Opera and the evolution of opera as well. It explores the concept of how music conveys the drama throughout the course. You will understand how Wagner conveys the meaning of the opera through motives. It further explores musical gestures and how it helped various composers develop their style in opera as well. You will understand in detail the importance of orchestra in German Opera.


  • Unit 1: Das Rheingold
    • This module introduces you to how Das Rheingold uses motives as an essential factor in conveying the drama. You will also learn the importance of the orchestra in German opera.
  • Unit 2: Mozart, Beethoven, Weber
    • This module explores the role of orchestra in German opera. It also focuses on some of the most prominent works of Carl Maria Von Weber.
  • Unit 3: Wagner
    • This module explores Wagner’s contribution to German opera and his distinctiveness in style and conveying the drama.
  • Unit 4: Twentieth-century German opera
    • This module explores Richard Strauss’ development and influences as a composer. You will also understand how music unfolds the drama in his work reiterating the importance of orchestra in German opera.

Taught by

Steve Swayne


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