With the expansion of the concertgoing public in mid-nineteenth-century Europe and America, many composers began to cultivate unprecedented political ambitions for their work. Music came to be valued not merely as a medium of entertainment or religious observance, but as a potential tool of social transformation. Yet it is unclear whether musicians’ technical means were ever suited to the new ends they pursued. Over three evenings, we will address this question through exploration of three landmark examples, Richard Wagner’s The Rhinegold (1854) (first installment of the epic four-opera cycle, The Ring of the Nibelung), Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Weimar-era social commentary, The Threepenny Opera (1928), and Nina Simone’s 1964 concert at Carnegie Hall, a musical watershed of the Civil Rights Era.
Session 1 | Monday, October 31 Richard Wagner
Session 2 | Monday, November 7 Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht
Session 3 | Monday, November 14 Nina Simone
Refreshments will be served.
Class Fee, which includes entry to all three sessions:$160 for Alumni and guest $100 for Young Alumni in class years 2013-2022, and guest.