Love, Death, and Intrigue: Opera in San Francisco

Alexandra Amati-Camperi

MUS 195
Core F

Course Description:

Everybody knows what a diva (or prima donna) is, but have you every thought of taking a class just about them? They would tell you that there are no other worthwhile ones, but the truth is that there is a lot more to Opera. There are love and human relationships of all kinds, and death (of all kinds as well), and the most complex and breathtaking intrigue… oh, and they do it all in song, on elaborate sets, with luscious costumes and vertiginous hairdos! In this class we will examine operas from 1600 to today, and will discuss not only musical and dramatic elements, but also the social and political questions raised by the works, racial and gender issues, as well as the environment they were created in and for, and the status of musicians, impresarios, theater managers etc. We will also attend 3 performances at the San Francisco Opera.

Faculty Bio:

Alexandra Amati-Camperi, originally from Italy, holds a BA/MA in Slavic Studies and Philology from the Università degli Studi di Pisa (Italy), degrees in piano from the Conservatory of Music of Lucca (Italy), a Masters and a Ph.D. in Musicology from Harvard University.  She is Professor of Music, Chair of the Performing Arts Department, and Co-coordinator of the Music Program, which she created. Her interests include the Italian Renaissance, Italian opera, Feminist criticism, Romantic piano music, and German Baroque choral music.  She is working on a book about women in opera. She sings and loves to read, ski, play the piano, knit, and cook.