Lecture 23

Nationalism; Romantic opera


Folk songs bind the nation, bind all nations and all people with one spirit, one happiness, one paradise. —Leos Janacek


emergence of nationalism; opera in the 19th century

romantic period (1810-1900) 

in this lecture, we first look at how nationalism became a major force in the romantic movement; 

we also revisit opera as it evolves in the 19th century.

Topics covered:

  • nationalism
  • Smetana: The Moldau
  • Dvorak
  • Sibelius
  • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
  • opera in the 19th century
  • bel canto opera
  • Rossini: The Barber of Seville
  • Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
  • Giuseppe Verdi: Aida



  • hear the presence of the duality of the recitative and aria combination in RossiniGiuseppe Verdi
  • hear in Verdi's Aida the elimination of recit/aria


  • watch lecture 23 (in multiple parts for quicker download)
  • review previous chapters, as necessary
  • read textbook, Chapters 22, 24
  • As you are reading your textbook, go through the Listening Exercises in textbook sequence, listening to the examples provided.
  • regarding developing listening skills: you should be in the habit of developing your listening skills early in the game - the assignments will get more complex through the semester and you may find yourself unable to keep up. As simple as these early assignments may seem to some of you, they will help to keep you on the right track, and help you develop the skills required for a greater appreciation in listening to music, including the music that you listen to for your own enjoyment. Of course, those objectives are in total sync with the success you hope to have in this class. Remember that your ability to recognize the music on your CDs will be tested and will, of course, impact your grade. 

Audio / Video lecture

  • click lecture segments below in sequence
  • presented in several segments to reduce download time
  • total lecture time: approx. one hour 15 minutes (all segments included)
  • can be downloaded for portable media players by right clicking each segment link and choosing save option. (note: older Macs and Mac notebooks with single-button mice: control-click)

Lecture 23.1

The emergence of Nationalism

Lecture 23.2 
Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition
Lecture 23.3 
Opera review
Lecture 23.4 
The Barber of Seville
Lecture 23.5 
Mad scene from Lucia di Lammermoor
Lecture 23.6 
Giuseppe Verdi and Aida