Courses in Cognate Departments (Winter 2023)

MUS1245 Orpheus
Caryl Clark
Time: Thursdays 10-12, Room: EJB 225

In this seminar, we will investigate the enduring significance of Orpheus and Orphic mythology to musical and theatrical expression over the last 400 years. A master singer and instrumentalist prized for his musical and oratorical powers, Orpheus has fascinated, haunted, inspired, and empowered artists and agents across the centuries, fostering abundant creativity and unbounded interpretive potential. Building on the narratives of Ovid and Virgil, this seminar explores representations of Orpheus in a range of genres (opera, ballet, theatre, visual art, film, etc.), comparing and contrasting interpretations of this singer, accompanist, poet, rhetorician, philosopher, sage, magician and shaman in different times and locations. How Orpheus resonates across the ages in religious, philosophical, humanistic, literary, medical, and musicological writings informs our explorations of Orpheus-inspired settings (e.g., Monteverdi, Charpentier, Gluck, Haydn, Beethoven, Offenbach, Milhaud, Stravinsky, Birtwistle), and different cultural responses in a range of media. Echoes of Orpheus in the arts unleash investigations into related mythology (Pluto and Persephone, echo and Narcissus, Filomena), Heaven and Hades, real and imaginary (virtual) worlds, Apollonian and Dionysian forces, reason and emotion, happiness and grief, journeying, cultural encountering, self-discovery, spirits and spiritual guidance, love, marriage, desire, sexuality, gender expression and masculinity, looking and not looking (or looking back), seeing and being seen, speaking and listening—the hermeneutic possibilities are endless!

Together we will examine the “workings” of opera, wrestling with the complexities of interpreting an art form that consists of a verbal text (libretto), a musical score, and dramatic action that is intended for actual dramatization on stage by singing actors. We will also explore vocal, technological, and physical aspects of performance, live and mediated, that communicate to audiences through various modes of perception in different historical periods. Together we will employ a range of interdisciplinary tools to flesh out this mythical character and his metaphorical legacy.

Matthew Roby
Time: Mondays 9-11, Room: LI 301

Learn the language of the Vikings!

This course is an introduction to Old Norse language and literature, focusing on basic instruction in Old Norse grammar and short readings from poetic and prose texts, such as the Sagas of Icelanders and Eddas.