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Opera production at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


Aug 07 - 10 2023


10:00 - 17:00



Introduction to Opera Directing

About the course

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Introduction to Opera Directing course will be of interest to anyone who has some experience of opera, either as a director or performer. It is a highly practical module that investigates, through group exercises, discussion and individual tutorials, the role of the opera director, and the skills and personal qualities required to form a vision for a production, and work with singers in the rehearsal room to achieve that vision.

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We analyse text and music and explore methods of character research and development, in preparation for the highlight of the course, an opportunity for each director to rehearse an opera scene with singers and a pianist. During the course, directors will develop a vision for a production of an opera of their choice, and present that vision to the group. All activities will be highly structured and supported so that anyone who can read music and has a passion for opera can take part.

This module is designed to:

  • Enable you to gain an understanding of the skills that are central to fulfilling the role of opera director
  • Introduce you to two aspects of opera directing: analysis and preparation; and rehearsal techniques
  • Give you an opportunity to develop your skills and understanding of rehearsal techniques through practice group work
  • Develop a group dynamic that is supportive and challenging, and in which peer feedback is an essential part of the learning process
  • Place personal development planning at the heart of the module and to underpin that with consistent use of reflective practice, formative assessment and goal setting.

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Module content

The module will begin with a practical investigation of the role of the opera director, which will include an analysis of the process of opera production from the moment the opera director is engaged to the final performance. Students will reflect on their own skill base and experience to determine how completely they at this point in their learning could fulfill that role. This will in itself enable the teacher to diagnose areas of support and guidance for each learner as the module proceeds.

Analysis will be introduced by group discussion, and the undertaking of tasks and further discussion in small groups, paying particular attention to political and historical context, developments in the arts as a whole, source material (eg original novel, play or myth), composition and first performance, style (eg bel canto, opera seria, opera buffa, Music Drama), plot, characters, and previous iconic productions. An Analysis Task will allow students to develop these skills independently.

A series of Practical Workshops will introduce students to rehearsal techniques and practical exercises to include movement, improvisation, the sharing of personal experience, and all aspects of workshop based learning. Rehearsal techniques to be explored include: the introductory workshop – ‘getting to know you’, character work and improvisation, text analysis – intention and subtext, getting started in rehearsals, advice on working with performers in a rehearsal situation, and decision making in rehearsals.

In the final assessment, the student will prepare a session designed to introduce, investigate, and rehearse a scene from the opera analysed in the Analysis Task.

Learning throughout the module is supporting by a structured reflective report that itself forms part of the assessment for the module.

During the course students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role, skills and qualities required in an opera director.
  • Demonstrate practical skills of analysis and direction that are underpinned by effective research and reflection.
  • Collaborate actively and generously in the learning process.

You will be assessed through:

  • Presentation (45%)
  • Practical assessment (45%)
  • Reflective Report (10%)


Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
100 Renfrew St


Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Local Time

  • Timezone: Europe/Paris
  • Date: Aug 07 - 10 2023
  • Time: 11:00 - 18:00

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