Music, Films and Theater
Musicals in Early “Talking” Films 1928-31, Parts I & II
Day: Part I: 4 Thursdays; Part II: 4 Thursdays. Time: 1:15-3:15 p.m. Dates: Part I: 3/7-3/28; Part II: 4/4-4/25 Location: UMass Boston, McCormack Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 204A Facilitator: Fred Broer Description: The advent of the first successful “talking” film in 1927 took the American film industry completely by surprise. Ill-prepared and stunned by the new development, the film studios scrambled to find ways to use music in the new medium. In their frantic attempts to create film “musicals,” they came up with some remarkably interesting results that were in some cases artistic and innovative successes and in other cases strange yet intriguing failures. This course will take a look at this fascinating period in American film history by viewing and discussing several film musicals produced from 1928 to 1931—films that are never or rarely seen today—to reveal how the American film musical got its start. This course is structured in two independent parts: Part I will focus on Broadway musicals and original film musicals, and Part II on operettas and musical reviews. You may enroll in either one or both courses.
Hollywood's Gender Trouble (VIDEO CONFERENCE)
Day: 9 Thursdays conference Time: 12:30-3:45 p.m. Dates: 3/7-5/9 (no class on 3/21) Location: UMass Boston, Healey Library, Lower Level, Presentation Room 3; and at Cordage Park, Plymouth & Hingham Public Library via video Facilitator: Linda Dittmar Description: What does it mean to be a man in our society…or a woman? As an arbiter of our culture’s norms and social values, Hollywood’s responses to this question are often complex, even ambivalent and oblique. Being a ‘man’ or a ‘woman,’ it turns out, is not so simple. Films are stamped by their immediate political, economic, legal, and cultural contexts, but they also push against accepted norms. They at once convey dominant agendas and query them. Especially given the hyper-visibility and broad reach of the cinematic medium, films invite critical thinking about how they represent gender. In this course we will view classic Hollywood films (1940s to early 1960s) as case studies in representations of gender, considered in the historic contexts of a period that underwent profound social change and led to others in more recent decades.
Introduction to Opera
Day: 7 Mondays Time: 10 a.m.-noon Dates: 3/11-4/29 (no class on 4/15) Location: UMass Boston, Healey Library, Lower Level (LL), Presentation Room 2 Facilitator: Barbara Wagner Description: This is an introduction that approaches opera via the libretto. Barbara Wagner has made CDs of well-known operas, giving the story in English before each scene, which is sung in the original language. Each opera will be followed by (a) brief readings on the composer’s life and any other relevant items of interest and/or (b) the most famous arias sung by other singers for comparison (as time permits). We will start with the life and music of Gaetano Donizetti, followed by two sessions on Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Next we’ll have two sessions on the Turandot by Giacomo Puccini; one session on Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck, and a final session completing Hansel and Gretel and listening to Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini. Note: There will be one $5 fee for handouts.
Foreign Films Yet Again!
Day: 7 Fridays Time: 12:30-3:00 p.m. Dates: 4/5-5/17 Location: UMass Boston, Healey Library, Lower Level (LL), Presentation Room 2 Facilitator: Richard Rancatore Description: We’re back again! Expect more foreign films you haven’t seen before. It’ll be more of the same—only different! Come one and come all.
Day: 6 Mondays Time: 1:15-2:45 p.m. Dates: 4/1-5/13 (no class on 4/15) Location: UMass Boston, McCormack Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 204A Facilitator: Jason E. Weber Description: A discussion-based dramatic literature course in African-American theatre, this course looks at the role African-Americans have played and continue to play in the American theatre. Starting with 19th century minstrelsy and continuing to contemporary commentaries, participants will look at plays and critical material alongside theatrical and historical contexts to develop a generalized picture of African-Americans in the theatre. This class will have weekly play reading assignments.
Looking at Dance
Day: 6 Wednesdays Time: 1:30-3 p.m. Dates: 4/3-5/8 Location: UMass Boston, McCormack Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 201 (former cafeteria) Facilitator: Anne Tolbert Description: This course is a look at some of the major choreographers of the 20th century, focusing on a few of their most important concert dance works. We will see and discuss dances by Vaslav Nijinsky, George Balanchine, Kurt Jooss, Martha Graham, Anthony Tudor, Alvin Ailey, Mark Morris, and Twyla Tharp.
Neglected Operas: Part II
Day: 6 Thursdays Time: 10-11:30 a.m. Dates: 4/18-5/23 Location: UMass Boston, McCormack Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 204A Facilitator: James J. Buckley Description: This group will provide participants with an overview of five neglected operas using video performances. After each opera is presented, participants will be invited to discuss aspects of the opera. The goal is to have informed discussion leading to a better appreciation of opera. It is not necessary to have taken Part 1 of the Neglected Operas.