|Languages for Opera Students
Objective: To address the need and demand for specialized Italian and German language and culture courses for UBC opera and voice school students as well as undergraduate music students (particularly accompanists) in order to give them the most appropriate support in developing their talent as future performers and teachers.
Rationale: The opera school at UBC is rapidly building an even stronger reputation not only within Canada but internationally. Today's opera school graduates require more than excellent diction in the languages in which they sing. Opera and music school graduates are increasingly expected to have an in-depth knowledge of the language of the opera stage, a working knowledge of German and Italian (at least) and the ability to understand and interpret the emotional and cultural resonance of the libretti and texts which form the basis of the repertoire of teachers and performing professionals. At present, students from the opera and voice division and undergraduate students alike take 'standard' language courses offered through the Faculty of Arts. As students have pointed out, these courses are naturally designed to be general and thus cannot meet the particular needs of opera and voice students. The offering of an opera and voice program which includes language courses tailored to its students' specialized preparation would be unique in Canada and will potentially attract greater numbers of Canadian and international students to UBC.
In addition, the German and Italian courses developed under this proposal will serve as models for future development of similar French, Russian and Czech courses (languages which are in increasing demand on the opera stage and therefore also important for future performers. Once completed, the new German and Italian courses can also be the starting point for creating a distance education format which would include print-based materials, CD-Rom, the internet and teleconferencing. Such courses, offered on line, increases opportunities for students in the wider community who may not otherwise be able to attend such courses when offered in the traditional on site form. Additional funding for this further phase of course development will be sought through fundraising from the opera community.
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Nancy Hermiston, Opera, Music, Faculty of Arts