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MUSIC 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Giuseppina Strepponi, Recitative, Joan Sutherland

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Matthew Woolhouse

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Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901, aged 88, Italian)
Married in 1836, 2 children - widower at 26, and both children died
Later had (scandalous) relationship with soprano, Giuseppina Strepponi; living together but unmarried;
reflected in La Traviata
Sought to reform culture and politics through opera
for unification of Italy (1870)
Elected to Italian parliament in 1860
Opera dominate standard repertoire (28 in total), most operas now are Verdi or Mozart
He was good shit in Europe - his funeral was largest public assembly of any event in history of Italy
La Traviata (1853)
literally "the fallen woman", about prostitute
3-act opera
Violetta: a high-class prostitute
Alfredo: a young gentleman
2 fall in love
She has tuberculosis though; must decide how to spend rest of her life (committed to one
man, or free)
they do live together, but she breaks relationship due to her scandalous past
Finally reunited, only to die in Alfredo's arms
Based on novel by Alexander Dumas (Three Musketeers, Count of Monte-Christo)
La Traviata Act I
Contrasting emotions through diff. singing styles
passage of declamatory, syllabic recitative (like when Count talks about Carabino - semi-sung
semi-spoke section)
Lyrical aria-like sections (all singing)
Virtuosic singing vs. simple
her Aria becomes duet when Alfredo joins
Word-Music relationships
"Gioir" (enjoy)
"Vortici" (vortices)
Emotional love in Alfredo's lyrical melody
Showcases the vocal talents of singers
Not a lot of orchestra
Dramatically realistic and musically satisfying
Three styles of singing
accompanied recitative
moves story along
Melismatic (one syllable has a ton of notes
High notes and difficult melodic runs
slower, more melodic singing
Opera Divas
Diva means "Goddess" or "Miley Cyrus"
Captures imagination of opera lovers
life stories fascinate audiences as much as virtuosic singing
reflected in film, such as Pretty Woman
Famous opera divas
Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Joan Sutherland, Anna Netrebko, Kiri Te Kawando
Giuseppe!Verdi's other Operas
• Rigoletto
• Aida
Il Travatore
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