Friday, July 25, 2008
The beginning of Opera
This first post deals with Opera as an art form and the first Opera's from the end of the 16th up until the end of the 18th century.Wikipedia states that "Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work (called an opera) which combines a text (called a libretto) and a musical score. Opera is part of the Western classical music tradition. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery and costumes and sometimes includes dance. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble."Opera began in Italy at the end of the 16th century with the lost opera "Dafne" composed in 1597 by Jacopo Peri.That was the beginning of Opera and it soon spread through Europe encorporating many countries and composers: Schütz in Germany, Lully in France, and Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century. Throughout the 18th century Italy soon became the country of choice for Opera, and the opera's were performed throughout Europe. The only country excluded from these performances was France.Opera seria was the main type of Opera being performed with serious subject matter and emphasis on the dramatic. This was popular throughout the 17th century yet the most important development for Opera today was the birth of Mozart in the 18th century.Mozart was responsible for both Opera seria and Opera buffa with some of his well known works including Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) and perhaps his most famous of all time Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro).Such influence on modern Opera's has made Mozart a popular choice for historical discussions and film references alike.Next week: Come on a operatic voyage of discovery as I take on Opera from the 19th century until present day.