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Publisher's Summary

When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in 1791 at the age of just 35, he nonetheless left behind the defining composition in every available musical genre of his time: symphony, chamber music, masses, and above all - opera. Opera was the prestige genre of the era, and the thought of it, Mozart wrote, made him "beside myself at once." It was a form he loved dearly, depending on it heavily for personal, professional, artistic, and financial reasons of the greatest weight.
Artistically, the world of the operatic stage spoke deeply to his primal instinct for play, his taste for fantasy, and his restless creative imagination. And in this rich series of eight entertaining lectures, you'll learn how his operas vied with one another for the acclaim reserved for the greatest achievements of human artistic striving: Idomeneo, The Abduction from the Harem, The Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and The Magic Flute, which premiered only ten weeks before his untimely death.
In addition to summarizing Mozart's life and artistic development, the lectures focus on two of his greatest masterpieces, Così fan tutte and The Magic Flute, to help you understand more fully the height of Mozart's operatic achievement.
©2003 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2003 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Doggy Bird on 04-06-14

One of the best values on Audible!

First of all, I have several Great Courses for which I paid full price from the Teaching Company - I love the courses and get a lot of pleasure out of listening to them. The value of being able to get Great Courses for one Audible Credit per course is ALONE worth an annual Audible subscription.

Second, I think Robert Greenberg's Music Courses are terrific and really one of the best uses of the audio book format for university level lectures. You not only hear the discussion of the music but hear music samples as well which makes it far superior to books about music history which can't provide samples of the music discussed. Greenberg's choices of music to illustrate the points he make are always excellent and really make listening to these lectures an enormous pleasure. Like others have said elsewhere, he can be quite corny -if that bothers you this is not the professor you will want to hear. I find his energy and enthusiasm makes the course more interesting and his attempts at humor are rather endearing (it may be that people from New Jersey find corniness less offensive). I appreciate his attempts to liven things up even if some of the jokes are rather silly.

Third, although I am not particularly knowledgeable about music the more I get to know opera the more I realize how very much I love Mozart's operas. It is true that Greenberg spends a lot of time on Cosi Fan Tutte as another listener noted. I didn't expect this to be exhaustive but rather Greenberg's own view of the most interesting aspects of Mozart's operas since it is still an introductory level course. For someone as prolific as Mozart it didn't surprise me that the professor made a selection based on his views. However, if you are expecting it to be exhaustive you will not be satisfied. Greenberg is very informative but selective, and with me that's OK.

Lastly, some negative comments have been made on the lack of librettos included with the course - those librettos are not part of the more expensive versions of the course either. You have to get librettos on your own - there are no entire operas included in the course, only excerpts so I don't know why anyone would think a libretto would be needed to follow the lectures. Some of the complaints made by listeners are very picky considering the comparative value of getting these courses so cheaply on Audible.

Very highly recommended.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful


By Jeremy on 11-04-15

Summarizes the great works w/ biographical asides

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

While I found the explanation of the music interesting, Greenberg's explanation of the plots of the various operas can get annoying in his way of telling it - especially if you already know the basic story.

If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses before, how does this one compare?

Not Greenberg's best course. He should have toned down a bit of his humor and discussed the music more. Still, if you find opera inaccessible, this course may be for you.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The man cannot pronounce anything in German to save his life.

Any additional comments?

Can we get some music courses NOT taught by Mr. Greenberg?

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Mr. Andrew M. Otty on 11-15-14

Not a great course at all!

What disappointed you about The Operas of Mozart?

Aside from about half an hour of the first lecture, which is biographical, this 'course' is actually just a massive plot summary of the mentioned operas. He literally just translates a scene, plays it, translates a scene, plays it, ad nauseum. There is no analysis or insight here. Just save yourself time and get a translation of the libretto and a CD of the opera!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By harper on 02-22-14

Thank you, Professor Greenberg

A thoroughly engaging, lively and unpompous guide to Mozart and his operas. Audiobook was made for this type of content and Robert Greenberg's presentation takes full advantage of the medium. i would also recommend the other Greenberg Great Course audiobooks on music. Does what is promised in helping the listener understand and appreciate great music.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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