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Harvard University

18th-Century Opera: Handel & Mozart

Harvard University via edX


In this breathtaking course, you'll get to know the music of two beautiful operas — both in their spellbindingartistry and colorful histories.

First, you'll travel to London in 1724, where George Frideric Handel premiered his most famous opera, Giulio Cesare. Meet the performers and experience what it was like to attend the first production, all while gaining an appreciation for the typical characteristics of Italian opera represented in this popular Baroque opera seria.

Then fast-forward 63 years to the Estates Theatre in Prague for the premiere of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s enduring classic, Don Giovanni. Learn about the challenges Mozart faced during the rehearsal process and the revolutionary relationship he created between music and drama in this opera.

Taught by

Thomas Forrest Kelly


5.0 rating, based on 4 Class Central reviews

5 rating at edX based on 5 ratings

Start your review of 18th-Century Opera: Handel & Mozart

  • Another charming, informative and engaging entry in Prof. Kelly’s First Night series. No musical knowledge is needed; although some details of music construction are covered, this is a light course of music appreciation, relayed in more of an anecdotal than academic fashion. If you don’t understand opera, you’ll probably come away with some idea of what’s going on; if you are a long-time music fan, chances are you’ll still hear something new.

    FMI see my post at my personal blog.
  • Hanna Ratajczak
    This is an excellent course. I have just finished the course yesterday. I have spent about 24 hours or a little more and absorbed this material like a greedy hamster. That, of course, included a number of performances (some of the 4 hrs long) I watc…
  • I love First Nights. Professor Kelly is one of my favorite educators in the world, and all the courses in the First Nights and First Nights at the Opera series are AMAZING. This course deals with Handel's Julius Caesar and Mozart's Don Giovanni. You'll hear about the arguments between the composers and the actors, you'll learn about the theaters, the candle-lit stages (with lots of fires!), and, most important, about the story and artistic pathos itself. I'm always inspired when I hear professor Kelly talk. My recommendations go for his book First Nights at the Opera as well - an amazing read.
  • Anonymous
    Thankful to have access to this course. It's engaging, fun, and I feel very lucky to have the chance to take a course on opera from one of the most knowledgeable experts in the world. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in music and opera.

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