Quality Seal Emagister EMAGISTER CUM LAUDE

First Nights: Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the Birth of Opera - Harvard University

4 opinions


Important information

  • Course
  • Online
  • When:

Learn about Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, one of the first operas ever written. With an apprenticeship you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.With this course you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.

Important information

Requirements: None


Where and when

Starts Location



What I would highlight The whole series is absolutely amazing. I was skeptical at first since I thought L'Orfeo wouldn't be as interesting to me as were Handel and Beethoven. Boy, was I wrong. Professor Keller manages to convey the beauty and amazing skills poured down in this work to you as if you're watching a movie rather than studying. Amazing teaching style, great examples and historical trivia, along with live performance. What a course!

What could be improved Nothing.

Course taken: October 2016 | Recomendarías este centro? Sí.

What I would highlight The course for me could have been a little more in depth musically and longer, but as always an interesting course given by a fantastic instructor. The course was very accessible and clear in its layout.

What could be improved Everything OK.

Course taken: March 2016 | Recomendarías este centro? Sí.

What I would highlight This lecture is really excellent for any starter in musicology or anyone wants to improve their knowledge about L'Orfeo or more generally about Baroque opera. It was excellent and enjoyable moments.

What could be improved Nothing bad.

Course taken: April 2015 | Recomendarías este centro? Sí.

What you'll learn on the course

Classical Music
Claudio Monverdi

Course programme

Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo premiered in Mantua in 1607, and continues to be regarded as one of the most important examples of early opera. With L’Orfeo, Monteverdi helped to establish the techniques and traditions that continue to inform the genre of opera to this day. Harvard’s Thomas Forrest Kelly (Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music) guides learners through the first half of L’Orfeo, highlighting aspects of operatic form and dramatic technique, the rehearsals and cultural context for the premiere performance, and the work’s continued relevance today. There will also be a focus on Monteverdi’s life and work as a Renaissance court musician. In this music course, you will learn the basics of operatic form and analysis, the genres and styles used, and the circumstances of this opera’s first performance and subsequent history. Learners in this course need not have any prior musical experience.

Additional information

Thomas Forrest Kelly Tom Kelly is the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University. Professor Kelly received his B.A. from Chapel Hill; spent two years on a Fulbright in France studying musicology, chant, and organ. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard (1973) with a dissertation on office tropes. He has taught at Wellesley, Smith, Amherst, and at Oberlin, where he directed the Historical Performance Program and served as acting Dean of the Conservatory. He was named a Harvard College Professor in 2000 and the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music in 2001.