The Metropolitan Opera Guild

Opera Boot Camp 
One of the Guild’s most popular learning events, Opera Boot Camp offers newcomers and seasoned opera-goers alike a friendly, entertaining, and enlightening introductory exploration through various elements of the art form. Each Opera Boot Camp is structured in four sessions, spread over two consecutive Saturdays. The Fall Opera Boot Camp will occur virtually on our Online Learning platform. The Spring Opera Boot Camp will occur live and in-person in the Guild’s Opera Learning Center.

Introduction to Operatic Staging
When comparing opera with theatre, some might say, “if I want to see someone act, I’ll go to a play, but if I want to hear someone sing, I’ll go to an opera.” But, what we view is essential to opera, and in many ways, what audiences, composers, and performers have seen has a great impact on how we see, hear, and understand opera today. In this four-part series, Metropolitan Opera Guild lecturer Matthew Timmermans will not only explore the history of operatic staging, the dramaturgy, sets, costumes, and bodies that bring opera visually to life, but also the direct impact that visual has on the sonic, making them inseparable.

To register and pre-order this virtual Opera Boot Camp, please visit All course contents become available online on Monday, November 1, 2021. Registered participants will receive an email notification when those materials are available.

Please note that if you purchase after Monday, November 1, 2021, you will have access to all course contents immediately.

Course materials will remain available to you for 60 days from the point at which you begin the class.

Course Registration: $100 Public | $85 Guild members and students

Opera Boot Camp: Opera and Greek Drama
SAT MAR 5 & 12 10:30AM-12:00PM and 1:00PM-2:30PM Matthew Timmermans
Published histories of opera differ in a myriad of ways, but one thing that they all agree upon is that opera was born out of Greek drama. Greek myths have inspired a multitude of reactions among audiences, performers, and composers, inciting laughter, tears, and deep contemplation. Although classicism, like most fashions, has come in and out of vogue during opera's four centuries long history, the ways that it has shaped how we hear, see, and think about opera are inescapable. Join Met Opera Guild lecturer Matthew Timmermans for this four-part series exploring the impact of Greek drama on operatic storytelling, composition, and singing
Full course registration: $100 Public | $85 Guild members and students
Individual session registration: $28 Public | $25 Guild members and students

Opera Boot Camp Part One: Greek Drama 101
SAT MAR 5 10:30AM-12:00PM
What is Greek drama and how has it changed the ways that we experience opera? Lecture one explores these ambitious questions beginning not with the birth of opera, but rather the modern aspects and stereotypes of Greek drama found in examples including the vengeful Medea, Wagner’s unavoidable legacy, and finally a twist in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

Opera Boot Camp Part Two: Orpheus and Eurydice
SAT MAR 5 1:00PM-2:30PM
Where and when did opera come from, and how have Greek myths been adapted and transformed over time? The second lecture will chronologically trace how Greek myths have been adapted by putting them in their historical context, and comparing and contrasting performances. Beginning with Orpheus and Eurydice which inspired the earliest opera still regularly performed, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (1607), we will trace how this myth has been musically and textually adapted by Gluck (1762), Offenbach (1858) and Aucoin (2020).

Opera Boot Camp Part Three: The Aeneid
SAT MAR 12 10:30AM-12:00PM
Virgil’s Aeneid, perhaps the most famous adaptation of a Greek myth, tells the story of the Trojan war and later Aeneas’s journey to Carthage. The appropriately epic nature of this poem beginning with Troy’s destruction and ending tragically with Dido's suicide has been adapted in a myriad of ways by opera composers. The third lecture will explore some of those operatic adaptations, including: Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (1689), Berlioz's Les Troyens (1863), and Offenbach’s La belle Hélène (1864).

Opera Boot Camp Part Four: Electra
SAT MAR 12 1:00PM-2:30PM
In lecture four, we’ll conclude our journey of Greek drama after the Trojan War with arguably the most violent and bloodthirsty of Greek myths, the saga of Agamemnon. We will begin by returning to Gluck, looking at his Iphigénie en Tauride (1779), one of the many operas he wrote for the French stage after his career in Italy. Then, we will discuss one of operas most powerful, beautiful, and disturbing musical adaptations, Strauss’s Elektra (1909). Finally, we will explore our only Greek tragedy-turned-opera sung in Greek and composed by a Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis’s Electra (1995).

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