Operatic Comedies


Die Meistersinger by Richard Wagner, Falstaff by
Giuseppe Verdi and Der Rosenkavalier by Richard
Strauss are three well-known operatic comedies that
are in the standard repertoire of major opera houses
and considered by many to be masterpieces. Are they
really funny? If not, why not? Why did Virgil Thompson
call them “elephantine” comedies and describe them as
“heavy, large, ponderous comedies”? This course will
examine the music, text and background of these three
operatic works to answer these questions.


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