The Incomparable Genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Peter Fox Smith

Peter Fox Smith, the long-time host of the popular opera program on VPR and author of the authoritative  book, A Passion for Opera, will lead this fifth class for the Learning Lab. Using his incomparable collection of historic recordings and his encyclopedic knowledge of opera, Peter has enthralled his classes on Verdi, Wagner and Puccini. Here is a summary of his new class:

Mozart, for several reasons, has been called”The Father of Modern Opera” and yet in several ways he also was the culmination of long standing operatic traditions. That is the basic issue of this course. It will be explored by a consideration of 10 of his 22 operas from the first operas composed when he was 12 to his two last works, The Magic Flute and La Clemenza di Tito that were composed just before his all too early death. And, obviously,no understanding of his genius is possible without music from the three Mozart/da Ponte masterpieces La Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutte.

Wednesdays, April 24 – May 22,  2:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Parish Hall of St. James Church   (The class will meet on one Tuesday instead, on May 7.)

Peter Fox Smith came from a family of singers and wrote his Ph.D. thesis on Richard Wagner at Harvard University. He has taught opera courses at Harvard, Dartmouth, and elsewhere.  From the inception of Vermont Public Radio, Smith presented his popular weekly program, Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, for nearly forty years.  He is also the author of the indispensable book, A Passion for Opera: Learning To Love It: The Greatest Masters, Their Greatest Music. In addition to cultivating his passion for opera, Smith writes poetry and gives readings of his work at colleges here and abroad.  He has published three books of poems.  He lives in North Pomfret, Vermont, with his wife, Joanne.