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Italian Opera Courses

Take free online Italian opera courses and learn about the historical Italian art form on edX.

Why learn about Italian opera?

Italy is a cultural powerhouse, creating music, art, food, and philosophy that has influenced the world for centuries. When people discuss Italian opera, they mean both opera from Italy and opera sung in Italian. This is how widespread Italy's influence has been on the art form.

Italy has produced some of the most famous opera composers, singers, and operas themselves. From Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly, La Boheme, and Turandot to Verdi's Nabucco and Falstaff or Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Italy offers us a wealth of beautiful music and centuries of operas and songs. Rossini and Donizetti's bel cantos, or Ruggero Leoncavallo's remaining performed work Pagliacci — there's so much to explore. 

Studying Italian Opera is studying history. We can look at the evolution of the art form and see its influence on other forms of musical composition and operas from other countries. Whether it's comic opera (opera buffa) or opera seria, Italy has made its permanent mark. 

Learn about Opera

The edX platform offers students the opportunity to take courses and certifications no matter where they are in the world. Courses are created in partnership with experts in the field of music, allowing students to study with the brightest minds on their own schedules. 

Courses are free to explore for fun, and students may also choose to take accredited courses, certifications, or even degree programs for a fee. edX offers one of the most convenient ways to gain experience and knowledge no matter the subject area and no matter the student's interest or future plans.

Opera Courses and Certifications

Dartmouth offers an Introduction to Italian opera. Students will explore the different conventions of early, middle, and late opera from the region and understand how opera from Rome, Naples, Venice, and other regions influenced non-Italian composers and modern opera.

Harvard offers a series of courses on opera, studying the art from different eras. Students can choose 18th Century Opera, studying the contributions of Mozart and Handel. Learners explore Don Giovani and Giulio Cesare's works, as well as the fundamental structures of Baroque opera, and understand how Italian works influenced each of these. Participants can also choose 19th Century Opera, including Giuseppe Verdi's work Otello. Students learn how Romanticism and the Enlightenment affected opera from this era. 

Harvard's X-series, Classical Works, includes a module on Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, one of the first operas ever written. Students will study music within the context of other types of work. 

Study Opera and Its Influence

La Traviata, Figaro, Tosca — Italian opera offers a wealth of classic works. Even well into the 20th century, with composers such as Pietro Mascagni and his Cavalleria Rusticana, Italy continued to revolutionize the musical form. Without Italy, the opera house may never have happened, and without edX, students might not get the chance to explore these important topics. Luckily, we have both.