Russian Opera


The Oxford Experience is a residential summer programme providing one-week courses in a variety of subjects aimed at non-specialists. It offers a choice of seminars each week over a period of six weeks.

Russia has produced some of the most powerful and memorable operas in the repertoire. Starting with the operas of Glinka, the “father of Russian music” (A Life for the Tsar; Ruslan and Lyudmila), this course will trace the development of Russian opera, through the works of Mussorgsky (Boris Godunov; Khovanshchina), Borodin (Prince Igor), Tchaikovsky (Eugene Onegin; The Queen of Spades), Rimsky-Korsakov (The Snow Maiden; The Golden Cockerel), Stravinsky (Oedipus Rex; The Rake’s Progress), Prokofiev (The Love for Three Oranges; War and Peace) and Shostakovich (The Nose; Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk).

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.


Music in mid-19th century Russia.

Glinka:                         A Life for the Tsar

                                    Ruslan and Lyudmila

Borodin:                     Prince Igor



The mighty handful and Russian nationalism

Mussorgsky:             Boris Godunov


Singer profile:           Feodor Chaliapin



The operas of Tchaikovsky

                                  Eugene Onegin

                                 The Queen of Spades



Rimsky-Korsakov:  The Snow Maiden

                                 The Golden Cockerel

Stravinsky:              Oedipus Rex

                                 The Rake’s Progress



Prokofiev:               The Love for Three Oranges

Opera in Soviet Russia

Prokofiev:              War and Peace

Shostakovich:        The Nose

                               Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk


Description Costs
Programme fee (no accom–incl.lunch and dinner) £1070.00
Programme fee (with single en-suite accom and meals) £1565.00
Programme fee (with single standard accom and meals) £1380.00


Jonathan Darnborough


JONATHAN DARNBOROUGH is Director of Studies in Music and Departmental Lecturer in Music at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. He is the author of Oxford University’s first two online Music courses.

Miss Claire-Louise Lucas


Claire-Louise Lucas is a professional mezzo-soprano and a part-time music tutor. She lectures on opera and song for Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.  She has lectured on singing in conservatoires and other universities in the UK and the USA.

Claire-Louise has performed extensively throughout Britain, Europe and the USA, including an appearance as a soloist in the Salzburg Easter Festival with Maurizio Pollini and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.  Other recent performances include concerts at Gloucester Cathedral; Christ Church Cathedral; Salisbury Cathedral; Southampton University; the Leominster Festival and the Brighton Festival. 

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Online registration closes on Friday, 1 May 2020 but please note that this course may be fully booked very quickly so early registration is recommended.


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century.

The fee stated includes a bedroom with private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Most are single but a few twins are available*.

There is also a limited number of standard rooms available, which all have their own washbasin and shaver point but shared bath and toilet facilities. Most standard rooms are single but there are a few ‘twin sets’ (two single rooms opening off a sitting room)*.

*If you wish to book a twin en-suite room or a standard twin set room each person should complete an application form and email it to us at as these rooms cannot be booked online. (Forms may also be posted to us at: The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, UK)

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form) together with a note of any mobility problems. Students should note that bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.


If accommodation is unavailable in a particular week, we also offer places on a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have meals at the college, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.

If you wish to enrol on a non-residential basis please complete an application form and email it to us at as this option cannot be booked online. (Forms may also be posted to us at: The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, UK)