Bjorklunden Explores the Compelling Character of the Villain

From July 24-30, Lawrence University’s Björklunden is offering the seminar “Villains of the Opera: Why Are the Bad Guys (and Gals) So Good” with Dale Duesing.

Duesing explores the curious question of why so many of the most intriguing, interesting and complex characters in opera are villains, not heroes or heroines. Composers as diverse as Mozart and Britten, Wagner and Puccini, Verdi and Floyd, wrote some of their most compelling music for these unsavory people. Why do we enjoy these evil characters and why are their roles so compelling? Examination of both texts and music will make for an exciting adventure into the world of opera. As in past classes, recordings and videos of great performances enhance our experience of Duesing’s exposition of the pieces, and the week will end with the traditional concert on Friday evening.

Duesing received the Grammy in 1993 for his recording of Samuel Barber’s “The Lovers” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, was designated Singer of the Year by Opernwelt magazine in 1994 and has been described by Le Monde de la Musique magazine as a singer who transformed opera. This past year, Duesing was honored twice among the “10 Best Productions/Performances in Europe,” once for his work as director for The St. John Passion by J.S. Bach, and once for his performance in the title role of Sweeney Todd in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the Nationale Reisoper Nederland (The Netherlands).

Seminar classes are held at Björklunden’s lodge, just south of Baileys Harbor, and meet weekday mornings and some evenings. For complete course descriptions, fees and registration dates, call 920.839.2216, email [email protected] or visit

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