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Undergraduate Voice, Choral and Opera

MU102, MU202, MU302, and MU402, Major Ensemble: Vocal. 

The Boston Conservatory Chorale and the Women’s Chorus each perform two to three concerts every year, featuring premieres of new works, rarely-performed works (such as the Leonard Bernstein Mass) and large works of the standard repertory with orchestra. Recent performances include the Haydn Lord Nelson; the Mozart  Requiem; Britten’s Cantata Misericordium; the Fauré Requiem; and the Vivaldi Gloria. Both ensembles perform annually with The Boston Conservatory Orchestra, as well as with outside orchestras or in special performances with one of the Boston Conservatory's other large ensembles. All undergraduate Voice Performance majors are required to enroll in a choral ensemble each semester, and placement into each ensemble is by audition only.

3 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU107, Performance Seminar: Vocal 1 and 2. 

Introduction to and overview of the basic principles of performance in recital, through exercises, assigned reading, observation, and performance. Required of first year Vocal Performance majors. Students are encouraged to pursue performance opportunities and course instructors may, at their discretion, assign external performance work in the community to individual students as needed to reinforce the course curriculum.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU135 and MU136, Survey of Diction 1 and 2. 

Introductory survey of diction and enunciation in English, Italian, German and French rooted in intensive study of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Required of first year Vocal Performance majors.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU207, Performance Seminar: Vocal 3 and 4 (Linklater/Body Work). 

In-depth practice of the body, voice, and text work defined by theater visionary and practitioner Kristen Linklater in her book Freeing the Natural Voice.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU268, Vocal/Piano Duos. Introduction to the art of piano/vocal collaboration. 

The basic skills of ensemble, balance, and interpretation are discussed in a performance-based context featuring art song of various periods and languages. Required of piano majors.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU307, Performance Seminar: Vocal 5 and 6. 

Introduction to the basic principles of performance in recital. Studies in concentration, physical and facial focus, text projection and character development in the context of performance of songs and arias. This course prepares students for the performance of the junior recital. Students are encouraged to pursue performance opportunities and course instructors may, at their discretion, assign external performance work in the community to individual students as needed to reinforce the course curriculum.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU333, Song Repertoire: Italian. 

A survey of the Italian Song Repertoire through lecture, discussion, and performance with a concentration on salient composers in the Italian language. Requires concurrent enrollment in MU335, Diction: Italian. Offered fall semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU334, Song Repertoire: German. 

A survey of the German Song Repertoire through lecture, discussion, and performance with a concentration on the important poets and composers in the German language. Requires concurrent enrollment in MU336, Diction: German. Offered spring semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU335, Diction: Italian. 

Development of proper Italian enunciation for singing, an intensified application of the International Phonetic Alphabet, and a more sophisticated understanding of the Italian language through the study and performance of the repertoire. Designed to be taken concurrently with MU333, Song Repertoire: Italian. Offered in the fall semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU336, Diction: German. 

Development of proper German enunciation for singing, an intensified application of the International Phonetic Alphabet, and a more sophisticated understanding of the language through the study and performance of the repertoire. Designed to be taken concurrently with MU334, Song Repertoire: German. Offered in the spring semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU341 and MU342, Opera Studio 1 and 2. 

Techniques of characterization, dramatic analysis, and ensemble and solo singing in all major operatic languages. Performances of scenes, staged arias, and children’s operas. Open to students accepted by audition (after the sophomore year) into the undergraduate Opera Emphasis program. Other students may be invited to participate in Opera Studio work and in Opera production through MU347 and MU 348, Opera Studio for Voice Performance Majors.

6-10 hours weekly; 3 credits

MU343, Characterization. 

Exploration of the development of character within an operatic role: how to research a period, understand a character, and create your own performance of that role, both on the stage and in the audition room. Offered fall semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU347 and MU348, Opera Studio for Vocal Performance Majors. 

Participation in the work of Opera Studio. Available, by audition only, to vocal performance majors. Techniques of characterization, dramatic analysis, and ensemble and solo singing in all major operatic languages. Performances of scenes, staged arias, and children’s operas. May be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

6 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU355, Choral Repertoire I: Antiquity to 1600. 

This course serves as both repertoire survey and discussion of performance practice topics from antiquity through the high Renaissance. Performance practice discussions will include notation, music ficta,  editions, and vocal considerations. Genres discussed include chant, motet, psalm-setting, anthem, and mass. Offered in alternate years, in fall only. Required of choral conducting majors.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU356, Choral Repertoire II: 1600 through the Baroque. 

This course serves as both repertoire survey and discussion of performance practice topics through the Baroque period. Cantata, motet, mass, and oratorio will be addressed as will Bach and Händle with specific emphasis. Editorial concerns and useful performance editions will be a significant topic in this semester. Offered in alternate years, in spring only. Required of choral conducting majors.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU369, Topics in Collaboration. 

Special offerings in the area of vocal/piano and instrumental/piano collaboration. Examples might include “French Art Songs for Pianists and Singers”; “Partnership 101: A course for pianists, singers, winds and brass exploring issues in musical partnership”; “Music of the Last Fifty years: a course for pianists, singers and instrumentalists exploring duos, trios, or larger ensembles written since 1952”;”The Bach Sonatas”;

“The String Sonatas of Brahms”; “Songs from the Beginning of the Twentieth Century” etc. Satisfies chamber music requirement for String, Brass, and Woodwind majors and the collaboration requirement for piano majors.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU407, Performance Seminar: Vocal 7 and 8. 

The study of more advanced vocal repertoire, with an emphasis on physical characterization and deeper understanding and dramatic interpretation of texts in all languages. The study and integration of singing, movement and acting, which leads to the performance of the senior recital. Students are encouraged to pursue performance opportunities and course instructors may, at their discretion, assign external performance work in the community to individual students as needed to reinforce the course curriculum.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU407, Opera Workshop. 

Focus on preparing for the operatic stage; topics covered include acting, improvisation, characterization within arias, staging notation, and audition technique. Preparation and performance of staged arias and scenes in each semester.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU433, Song Repertoire: French. 

A survey of the French Song repertoire through lecture, discussion and performance with a concentration on the important poets and composers in the language. Requires concurrent enrollment in MU436, Diction: French. Offered fall semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU434, Song Repertoire: English and American. 

A survey of the English and American Song repertoire through lecture, discussion and performance with a concentration on the salient poets and composers of England and America. Requires concurrent enrollment in MU436, Diction: English and American. Offered spring semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU436, Diction: French. 

Development of proper French enunciation for singing, an intensified application of the International Phonetic Alphabet, and a more sophisticated understanding of the French language through the study and performance of the repertoire. Designed to be taken concurrently with MU433, Song Repertoire: French. Offered fall semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU436, Diction: English and American. 

Development of proper enunciation for singing in English, through the study and performance of the repertoire, a more intensified application of the International Phonetic Alphabet, and training in the correction of regional speech. Designed to be taken concurrently with MU 434, Song Repertoire: English and American. Offered spring semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU437, Oratorio Repertoire. 

A survey of the history, performance practice, and repertoire of oratorio studied through lecture, performance, and coaching of arias and ensembles from selected oratorios from throughout the history of the genre. Offered spring semester only.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit 

MU438, Vocal Coaching. 

Individual instruction in the interpretation, phrasing, diction, and style in all genres of the vocal repertoire. In collaboration with the applied lesson instructor, the vocal coach will assist in the choice and preparation of repertoire to be presented in required recitals. Vocal Performance majors enroll in this course as part of recital preparation in the final year. This course may be repeated for a maximum of 2 credits before incurring additional fees.

1/2 hour coaching weekly; 1 credit

MU439, Topics in Vocal Performance. 

Special courses on topics related to vocal performance are offered in rotation. Previous courses have included Recitative Class, International Repertoire (generally covering Russian, Czech, Spanish, and other repertoire of interest to the current class), Early Music Repertoire, and Song Analysis through Text.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU441 and MU442, Opera Studio 3 and 4. 

Advanced work in characterization, dramatic analysis, and ensemble and solo singing in all major operatic languages. Performance of scenes, staged arias, and children’s operas. Opera chorus and/or roles in major productions. Open to students in the Opera Emphasis program. Other students may be invited to participate in Opera Studio work and in Opera production through MU347 and MU 348, Opera Studio for Voice Performance Majors.

6-10 hours weekly; 3 credits

MU444, Aria Class. 

A performing and coaching class to which singers bring arias for performance practice as well as for coaching on diction, style, character and vocal presentation. 

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU446, The Drama of the Score. 

An introduction to the musical language of opera. Exploration of the musical and physical drama inherent in the orchestral score. Analysis of the operatic score as  tool for making dramatic and physical choices in the performance of arias from all historical periods and styles. Spring semester only.

2 hours weekly; 2 credits

MU455, Choral Repertoire III: 1750-1910. 

This course serves as both repertoire survey and discussion of performance practice topics during both the Classical and Romantic periods. The major works of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and others will be addressed in this semester. Of particular emphasis will be choral-orchestral repertoire.Offered in alternate years, in fall only. Required of choral conducting majors.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU456, Choral Repertoire IV: 1910 to the Present. 

This course serves as both repertoire survey and discussion of performance practice topics from the 20th century to present. Topics will include activities in various geographical regions and will address the Second Viennese School, England’s return to the choral scene, American music, Minimalism, etc. New attention will be paid to previously unconsidered regions of the world: Northern Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America, etc. Offered in alternate years, in spring only. Required of choral conducting majors.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

MU495 and MU496, Vocal Pedagogy. 

This course is designed to familiarize the student with the physiology of the singing voice and the most recent scientific information available pertaining to voice and the teaching of singing in applied situations and choral rehearsals.  Students are expected to develop a basic vocabulary for pedagogical communication and the teaching of voice production. The students are required to demonstrate ability to formulate and express concepts of vocal function. The students can expect a variety of topics that directly relate to the teaching of voice production. The musical emphasis is on standard classical song repertoire.  This will provide knowledge and insight that will assist the student in the selection of materials and the pedagogy of using these materials in a logical and attainable scope and sequence at the appropriate level.  Students will utilize this knowledge through an applied teaching practicum that will take place in the second  semester.    

1 hour weekly; 1 credit

TH315 and TH316, Acting for Singers 1 and 2. 

Basic principles of truthful acting. The course moves from foundation exercises to experience with monologues and scene work. Required of undergraduate Vocal Performance majors and graduate Opera majors.

4 hours weekly; 2 credits 

DA373 and DA374, Movement for Singers 1 and 2.

Designed to give the singing performer greater knowledge of and ability with their physical instrument. Introduction to basic dance steps, period movement, styles and dances often required in operatic productions, some basic ballet. Movement exercises from various well known techniques in expressive body work (i.e. Chekhov, Bogart, Wesley Balk, Grotowski) as well as stage combat and some relaxation and massage techniques.

2 hours weekly; 1 credit

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