Accueil > Opera, Power and Politics

DHUM 1435A - Opera, Power and Politics

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Opera embraces voice, music, theatre, poem and visual arts, making it the ultimate art form. A product of its time, it is endlessly reinvented to reflect a changing society. Sometimes forbearing political events (some revolutions started at the opera house), often used as propaganda by the mighty and powerful, opera entertains a unique relationship with the political power. As from the Age of Enlightenment, opera became a vector of subtle social criticism or political utopia. The course will propose a cross-thematic odyssey into opera, power and politics from Monteverdi to Mozart, Verdi and John Adams (and many others), confronting musical works with the political theories of the time from Machiavelli to Marx. We will consider the form and content of the works and the evolving social status of the composer. Opera extracts will be widely watched/listened to during the course.


NOEL, Pierre-Emmanuel (Senior Banker, European Investment Bank)

Course validation

Group presentation - 30% Multiple choice tests (2) – 60% Class participation – 10%

Required reading

  • Extraits choisis des ouvrages suivants (qui seront fournis):
  •  Kate Bailey, Opera, Power and Politics (V&A Publishing, 2017)
  •  John Bokina, Opera and Politics (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1997)
  •  Mark Berry, Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner's Ring, Ashgate, 2005)