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Wagner course takes students to Chicago’s Newberry Library

January 13, 2008

During Wagner and Wagnerism, Professor James Martin takes students to Chicago for a historical journey at one of the world’s premier research libraries.  And while in the Windy City, the class enjoys live performances, art museums, and a host of other opportunities.

Windy City

Wagner and Wagnerism gives students access to historical music archives, live performances, museums, and lakeshore accommodations. "The course was the highlight of my college career thus far," says senior Joni RIce.

Shared discovery is the name of the game as students dig into the Newberry Library’s storehouse of writings by Wagner: diaries, autobiographies, essays, letters, etc. They also investigate periodicals from the late 19th and early 20th, and have a chance to view an original printing of the world’s first opera, Euridice, and its accompanying libretto.

In 2006, students attended two very different operas to supplement their academic work: Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio and John Adams’ Nixon in China.

“To see two live opera productions as different as these, and then to study Wagner and to see Tristan und Isolde on video, including sections of four different productions, allowed for a rich experience for all of us,” says Martin.

Other adventures included a Warhol exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art and an architectural tour of Chicago by boat. Students discuss and process the diverse array of ideas brought up in class as a backdrop for completing individual papers to culminate the course.

“The course was the highlight of my college career thus far,” says senior Joni Rice. “At the Newberry library I was able to do more extensive research than I even thought was possible. Furthermore, I was able to attend various musical events in Chicago, including a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where I was blessed to met one of my idols, Dale Clevenger, in person for the first time.”

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