Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Opera MUSIC2008

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course develops an understanding of opera as an expressive medium through the dramaturgical research of historically important scores and librettos, and by attending live performances given by Scottish Opera. They also gain insight into the operatic production process through talks given by Opera professionals and by designing their own productions.


Runs alternate years, please check Handbook for details. 3 hours weekly: 1 hour lecture + 2 hour seminar as scheduled in MyCampus. Attendance at evening performances and rehearsals is expected. Workshops as arranged.

Requirements of Entry

A Grade D3 or above in 40 credits of Level 1 Music Courses or be enrolled in the first year of a BMus.

Excluded Courses





Dramaturgical research report (1500 words) - 40%

group design project, culminating in a 15min presentation of their own vision for a full staging of an opera of their choice - 60% (Group mark)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ engage with opera as a living, artistically complex and, at times, controversial form.

■ apprehend and negotiate through detailed analysis the complexities of operas themselves.

■ engage in dialogue with professional performers, directors and designers involved with realising opera, and through critiquing live and recorded productions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

■ Put dramaturgical theory into practice.

■ Contextualise operatic works in the broad history of opera across Europe.

■ Evaluate technically the correlation between music and drama in opera, for instance, how music, language, characterization and design support each other.

■ Identify and explain complexities within operatic production.

■ Evaluate and criticize productions of operas with reference to contemporary aesthetic and theatrical expectations, and current political concerns.

■ Work cooperatively in small groups to design a dramaturgical project.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.