Unlucky in Love - Eight Great Operas WEA Sydney

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Broken hearts have been the mainstay of opera from its inception in the sixteenth century up to today. This course looks at eight different operas and their eight different composers - Italian, French, German, Russian and English. We shall listen to songs of heart break sung by both men and women, be they highborn or penniless. Marvellous music transports us from the time of the Druids and Romans to early twentieth century Venice and a plague of cholera, from medieval Cornwall to Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo.


  • Face-to-Face


  • Thomas Mann: Death in Venice
  • Walter Scott: The Bride of Lammermoor


  • Norma - Bellini (1831)
  • Lucia di Lammermoor - Donizetti (1835)
  • Tristan und Isolde - Wagner (1859)
  • Carmen - Bizet (1875)
  • Eugene Onegin - Tchaikovsky (1878)
  • Otello - Verdi (1887)
  • Tosca - Puccini (1899)
  • Death in Venice - Britten (1973)


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the different settings of the operas.
  2. Gain knowledge of deaths of three couples.
  3. Appreciate the features of bel canto singing.

Virginia McGill

BMus (Hons), PhD
Dr Virginia McGill, B.Mus (Hons), PhD, studied music at UNSW. The subject of her doctorate was opera but her musical interests are very broad. Her teaching experience is considerable. Virginia has...