Special Topics: Diva in Opera and Film


Sex, Death, and the Diva in Opera and Film will examine the rise of the diva from the end of the eighteenth century through the present. We will investigate how divas have been represented throughout history as performers, cultural products, and artists. We will study operas by composers including Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Bizet, Wagner, and Puccini; musicals with a singing-performer as a major character; films about opera and other divas such as Funny Girl (1968), Meeting Venus (1992), and Quartet (2012); and modern pop divas including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Madonna. In each case, we will use their performances to discuss such interdisciplinary issues such as sexuality, gender, exoticism, and colonialism within dramatic forms. Of particular interest will be the intersection of the idea of the diva with sex, sexuality, and morality, as well as how a diva might create or radically reinterpret how a role was originally envisioned by a composer through the force of her own personality.  

No previous academic knowledge of music or film is necessary for the successful completion of this course. The course will feature field trips to view operas (both live and in HD). Viewing and listening assignments will be complemented by course readings.



Guest Lecturer: Dr. Charles McGuire, Oberlin College

Special Topics: Diva in Opera and Film

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