Rafael de Acha Rafael de Acha
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Course Overview

Instructor: Rafael de Acha
Class meets at FIU (Tamiami)
on Tuesdays and Thursdays
from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM, in room VH 126

The course is a 15-week survey of five centuries of Opera in Europe and the United States.

The course will examine 35 operas by 25 composers from the 17th through the 21st centuries. Part of the students' work away from class will be to watch in its entirety a video recording of each opera. We will also do some in-class listening to excerpts from CD recordings of the works we discuss. The student will supplement all this with private listening of URL links to operatic excerpts on You Tube. All the listening tallies up to a total of approximately 90 hours of out-of-class work spread out over a 15-week course, averaging 6 hours per week.

There is no text book for this class. 50% of what we do when we study Operatic Literature is to read and interpret texts in Italian, French, German and English. The student is advised to become familiar with the English language libretto for each of the operas studied in the course.

Lecture outlines will be posted as copyrighted PDF documents on this website (www.rafaeldeacha.com) and will remain posted until the end of the semester. These postings will contain the URL links to operatic excerpts on You Tube.

The student is encouraged to acquire a good Opera Guide to accompany his/her operatic travels in his/her future career. An Opera Guide will usually contain the plots to hundreds of operas and some basic facts thereof. Perhaps the best one of all is the most recent edition of The Grove Book of Operas.


There will be two papers required, and each will be counted as 20% of the grade, for a total of 40% of the grade. The midterm and the final exam will make up another 40% of the grade. Class attendance and participation will account for the remaining 20% of the grade.

Details on these papers, their due dates, and their formats will be given to the student in a timely manner. Each student will be randomly assigned a different theme and subject matter for her/his papers.

Attendance of up to three opera performances on or off-campus, fully staged or in concert, will each count as an extra single bonus point towards the grade if each is evidenced with a program and one-page of comments given to the instructor no later than one week after the event.


A+ 98% to 100% / A 95% to 97% / A- 90% to 94%
The student has shown scholarship, research skills, and deep insights.

B+ 88% to 89% / B 85% to 87% / B- 80% to 84%
The student has shown curiosity, willingness to learn, and clarity of thinking.

C+ 78% to 79% / C 75% to 77% / C- 70% to 74%
The student has done average work.

D 60% to 69%
The student has evidenced a limited amount of scholarship and research skills.

F Below 60% - The student has failed to pass the course.

Students will be self-guided by attention to the rules of common sense and proper and polite behavior in class. These include no cell phones, no consumption of food or beverages, and punctuality.

Students will be bound by the HONOR CODE of the University.

A personal note

I look forward to working with each and every one of you and sharing my passion for the great operatic music of the past 400 years.

My e-mail address is Rafael@rafaeldeacha.com, where you can email me any questions, comments, and so forth. I prefer that you use this email address, rather than the temporary one issued to me by FIU.

I do not have office hours, but will happily meet with you immediately preceding or following the class. If either one of us is not available on a particular day, we can and will endeavor to arrange a mutually convenient time to meet on campus.

My personal best wishes go to all of you, wishing you success in this course and in all your endeavors in music.

Rafael de Acha



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