MUSV2006 - Opera and politics (1600s-1800s)


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

Opera is an active participant in political history, and must for that reason be understood as a reflection of contemporary political and socio-cultural discourses. This course is an introduction to opera, and studies central comical and serious operas from the 1600s–1800s in light of their political, cultural, social and historical context. Opera originated in the baroque absolutistic representative sphere, in which it functioned as part of public representation: it was supposed to elevate, glorify and not least outdistance the sovereign from his/her subjects. This was the era when the sovereign was understood as an "earthly representative of God", and when magnificent operas were to articulate the power and richness of the sovereign. The enlightenment did however bring forth a new "enlightened" ideal rulership: the sovereign was understood as "the first servant of the state" and was given the task of enlightening the people. The idea was that an enlightened people would secure a strong state. In this context, the operatic stage was appointed as the ideal place for enlightening the people. It functioned as an important public room where political communication between the sovereign and his/her subject, but also between artists and their audience, took place.

Learning outcome

Knowledge:An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV2006- has knowledge of characteristic traits of serious and comical opera from the 1600s-1800s- has deepened knowledge about opera as a political medium- has deepened knowledge about opera in political, cultural, social and historical context- has general knowledge about relevant European political, cultural, historical and social developments from the 1600s-1800sSkills:An examinee with a completed qualification in MUSV2006- can identify and describe the style and structure characteristics of comical and serious opera of the 1600s-1800s- can contextualize opera of the 1600s-1800s in its political, cultural, social and historical context- can express his/her deepened knowledge in a convincing and coherent way- can make his/her own reflections based on acquired knowledge

Learning methods and activities

Teaching is organized in lectures, which also includes seminar activities.

Compulsory assignments

  • One written essay.

Further on evaluation

The text for the home examination should have a length of about 4000–6000 words.If the candidate retakes the exam, there is no need to retake the compulsory assignments.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Intermediate course, level II



Language of instruction: Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Music History
  • Political History
  • Cultural History
  • Aesthetic Studies
  • History
  • Musicology
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music


  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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