19c Opera.docx

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12 Nov 2012
Department
Course
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19c Opera: Act 1 (The Scene: Italy)- Oct. 29
Prologue
- Rabbit of Seville (1949)
- Music from G. Rossinis opera The Barber of Seville (1816)
- Rossini was enormously popular throughout Europe
- to the frustration of other composers, especially in Germany
- Simply because of the melody graceful, ornate, displays singers beautifully as well as the:
- Rhythm often infectiously driving (Rossini crescendo)
The Age of Beethoven and Rossini
- Kiesewetter (Austrian music historian) describing what was for him the most recent period of music
history
- In this view:
- Beethoven: serious, intense, and ambitious
- Rossini: frivolous, commercial, but hugely successful
- Beginnings of a significant split between serious and popular and opera was aligned with the
popular
- Rossini model for the concept of opera as entertainment/popular culture
Making Opera Serious
- In the 19c, a parallel change comes to some opera
- More ambitious, serious opera
- (another impact of the idea that music has unique expressive power)
- In Italy, this doesn’t mean retreat from singers and melody as central
- More tragic plots and intense character development
Giuseppe Verdi (1813 1901)
- Dominated Italian opera from the 1840s on
- Almost all of his operas are serious: most end in death or one or more leading character
- Orchestra was larger than Rossinis and there were more varied colors
- Almost no dry recitative, more continuity (just get through the words fast = dry). This gives more
continuity
- But like all Italian operas, the voice is still central beautiful, expressive melodies
- Verdi becomes a slogan for nationalism due to his connection with the concept of nationalism (Viva
Verdi) but also due to the ability of Verdis operas to bring people together
- Growing sense of music in society
Rigoletto (1851)
- Story from a play by Victor Hugo
- Politically risky theme of corruption
- Rigoletto, hunchbacked jester to womanizing Duke, has a beautiful daughter, whom hes kept a secret
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