Yesterday, we had the experience of being students in a dramaturgy class, and from it I believe I gained some additional insight on what Hannah will be participating in over the next few years. We attended a program on Italian opera, taught by musicologist Denise Gallo, at the Smithsonian. Italian opera, from the sixteenth century to the twentieth.
Gallo is a very engaging instructor. She places operatic endeavors of various periods in their historical context, how they were written to respond to the pressing issues, and social and philosophical trends of the time. She talked about the continuing tension between the music and the text, and which took the primary and which the secondary roles over time. She talked about staging. About influence of technological changes, about the evolution of orchestral instruments. She talked about cross-cultural influences, how German, Italian and French operas influenced, and stayed separate from, each other. She used notes, narrative, CDs, DVDs, and a fair number of anecdotes (personal and otherwise) to get her points across.
Isn’t this what dramaturgy is all about?