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MUAR 211 Lecture Notes - Norse Mythology, Gesamtkunstwerk, Soundscape

Music-Arts Faculty
Course Code
MUAR 211
Jerry M.Cain

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MUAR 211 The Art of Listening Winter 2013
February 28th, 2013
many specific varieties & styles of opera but break down into 2 basic types (serious
& comic)
o opera seria (Italian) + grand opera (French) = genres of serious opera
o opera buffa (Italian) + opera comique (French) = genres of comic opera
o only French opera comique used spoken dialogue
French grand opera appealed to the middle class audience through sheer
o spectacle as important as music so following often featured: machinery,
choruses, extravagant sets & costumes, ballets & other dances, crowd scenes,
exotic animals
o librettos often based on historic topics, larger than life characters & events
of large scope
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
o dominant opera composer in Italy for 50 years after Donizetti & true Italian
national hero
o preferred librettos based on successful plays/novels many of historical
Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
o Italian composer
o most known for operas
o regarded as most important, influential & beloved Italian composer after
o librettos of Puccini’s operas often based on popular contemporary novels &
o some operas demonstrate late 19th-century fascination with realism &
therefore feature fairly realistic & contemporary characters of all social
o actively sought authentic Japanese melodies
Madama Butterfly was a tragic opera in 2 acts by Giacomo Puccini
o libretto created by Giuseppe Giacosa
o provides rare example of exoticism among Puccini’s operas
o first performance was a failure
o today, one of the most often performed & beloved operas
bel canto: beautiful singing; term often associated with singing style of 19th century
Italian opera; characterized by florid (decorative, busy) melodic liens delivered by
voices of great agility & purity of tone
prima donna: singer of the principal female role in an opera, or leading female
singer in an opera company
primo uomo: singer of the principal male role in an opera, or leading male singer in
an opera company
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
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