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Online course

Inside Opera: Why Does It Matter?

Discover the hidden world of opera, find out how it works and debate whether it’s still relevant today.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Inside Opera: Why Does It Matter?

See opera in a new way

How does opera work? How has it changed over 400 years? And most importantly, is opera relevant today?

Get the answers to these questions and more with this course taking you behind opera’s velvet curtain. If you’ve never been to an opera, or assumed it’s not for you, you’ll learn the basics in a new and exciting way. And if you already enjoy opera and want to learn more, this course will enrich your future experiences, helping you to develop a toolkit of operatic concepts to draw on long after you have finished the course.

Now is your chance to explore this diverse and spectacular art form.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsHouse lights out, to screen in, and tiny smoke. Go, thank you. Projection queue nine, go. [Wagner's 'Flight of the Valkyries'] Strobes, go.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 secondsFinal smoke burst, go.

Skip to 0 minutes and 31 secondsExplore these questions and more with this free online course taking you behind opera's velvet curtain. Whether you're just getting into opera, or wonder whether it's for you at all, this is your opportunity to gain a backstage pass

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsinto one of the world's leading opera houses: the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. You'll hear from experts in the field from King's College London and delve into the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and you'll have an opportunity to throw your own voice into the discussion about opera's relevance today. Join me, Dr Flora Willson, over the course of four weeks as we talk to a host of the people who bring opera to the stage, including musicians, technicians, directors and stage managers. The emotions are so extreme. The score controls everything. Opera is this art form that somehow has a need to kill off its women. Opera is live. It's an extremely dangerous medium. It's a life-changing art form.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 secondsSo join the conversation, and decide for yourself, why does opera matter?

What topics will you cover?

  • What is opera?
  • What happens onstage?
  • What goes on backstage?
  • How is opera embedded in the world beyond the opera house?

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe opera and its main musical and dramatic features
  • Discuss how opera has changed with the world around the opera house
  • Explore the major roles involved in staging an opera, both in the past and today
  • Reflect on opera’s changing role in culture and society during its four-century history
  • Explore how new technologies have altered the way audiences experience opera
  • Discuss what opera has to offer in the 21st century

Who is the course for?

The course is for anyone interested in opera and how it works musically and theatrically, whether or not you’ve experienced opera before.

What do people say about this course?

When I saw in Opera magazine that FutureLearn was offering a short online course ‘Inside Opera’, I very quickly signed up for it. I’m learning even more about my favourite subject.

Paul Foss

Who will you learn with?

Flora Willson

Flora is a Lecturer in Music at King’s College London, where she specialises in 19th-century opera. She is a regular guest on BBC R3 and also writes for The Guardian and Opera magazine.

Who developed the course?

King’s College London is ranked in the world’s top 20 universities. Based in the heart of London, it is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, learning and understanding in the service of society.

The Royal Opera House, home to two of the world’s great artistic companies - The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet, aims to enrich people’s lives through opera and ballet.

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $44 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

Image access mobile

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

Image certificate mobile

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV
  • Includes free shipping

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.

Upgrade


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