Class Notes (838,343)
Canada (510,861)
Music (217)
MUS206H1 (10)


22 Pages
Unlock Document

Caryl Clark

Intro/ History January-11-12 1:13 PM  "Opera for Dummies"  Musician = high performanceathlete  Spectacle  Text: Thomas Kelly's "First Nights at the Opera" (Yale U Press) at the Bob Miller Bookroom180 Bloor St. W → 5 Operas are covered in this book; see info sheet  No mics- acoustic sound  Midterm test 15%, Feb. 29; Review Essay 40% due in class March 14; Plus final exam 45% → Midterm = right after reading week, in class → Essay = must go to the performance; beginning of March, turn in Ticket stub with paper → Final Exam = entire term's work  Originated in late 16th c Italy → Florence Camerata imagined a model of Greek drama: Peri/ Rinuccini's Dafne (1597)  Opera = solo vocal line with musical accompaniment(monody)so words could be understood (music/ words balance and interaction changes thruout history)  Developmentsin 17thc → Audience: originally in a court setting, then quickly popular (Venice's 1st public opera house - 1637)  Ticket sales; revenue to support this venue → Monteverdi's1st important "opera in music": La Davola de Orfeo (1607)  The story of Orpheus to opera (recall CLA160,lyre player/ singer → Serious plots (1st comic opera - 1639) → Increasingly complexorchestration (not just vocals) → Opera movesto France (competitionwith ballet and spoken drama)  Lully (1632-87),Italian transplanted into France, brought 'recitative' into vogue/sung not spoken  Grand, complexstaging; exotic subjects, ballet  Courtly audience; idea of opera as elite begins → Italian compsersmoveto Austria and Germany, Italian opera dominatesnext century  Indiginous forms exist (e.g. Singspiel in German) → England  Developmentsin 18th c → Italy: 'libretto', poetic text takes central place (Zeno, Metastasio,Goldoni) → Castrati at height → Aria dominates(solos with orchestral accompaniment,reflect emotionalstate)  Vs. recitative(active dialogue, char. Interchange) → 2 major types: opera seria = serious HANDEL & opera buffa = comic MOZART → 1760s,Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck  Developmentsin 19th c → Italy: 'bel canto' ('beautiful singing') = singer-dominated opera  1840-90dominated by Verdi (Italian cultural nationalism) → Rise of bourgious class → France: open society,grand opera tradition held → Germany:singing in German, Romantic opera (e.g. Weber)  Wagner: changed convention of theatre and theatre going; continuous music (not arias); Leitmotiven(challenges to harmonic conventions) → Later: Russia (e.g. Tchaikovsky)  Developmentsin 20th c → Neo-classical revival → Postmodernopera (parodies/ self-reflecxive operas about opera) → Historic opera → Historic opera → Chamber opera (smaller, less expensive) → Impact of surtitles, videos, television and film (democratizingthe elite form - North American convention, not European); widest audiences yet, and growing! → Age of the director (c.f. composer,librettist, singer) - Regietheater → Resistance to "eurotrash"  Semioticsof live, performed opera → See BB → Many possible senders  Opera = words + music; words = libretto, music = composer'sscore → Music = Singers + orchestra  Audience: understand & interpret → See, hear Handel, Giulio Cesare  Diff voice types for diff people -> diff roles for diff voice January-18-12 types 1:14 PM → e.g. Cornelia, mother = maturity, age → Older = lower voice type, young lovers = high voice  GF Handel born in Germany 1685, moved to Italy for training for early part of career registers (e.g. soprano + tenor) → Learns the Italian style; German style = intellectual, Italian = lyrical melody, power of  Example: La Boheme voices, proclaiming of voice in song → Expression of diff. types of emotion (love, anger)  Moved to London, 1720 permenantly, produced Italian opera  Symbols on stage for us to interpret (e.g. arguing in front → Required lots of money, the most elite practice (Italian opera IMPORTED to London) of children, slapping)  Giolio Cesare in Egitto (1724) (Handel = composer to compose music) → May have been indicated in libretto, or simply a → Opera seria in 3 acts stage direction from director → Libretto = Nicholas F. Haym (poet to write words)  One voice type that does not exist: castrato = castrated → Premiered at King's Theatre in London male  Handel was actually bald; he normally wore that wig (he shaved to not get lice from the wig) → Women used to not be allowed in performance, so → Was originally quite handsome, but grew fat and Rob Ford-ish after making money and castration let pubescent boys keep their sopranic living lavishly as a successful composer/businessman voices  Worked in conjunction with The Royal Academy → Male heroic characters in baroque became castratos → London noblemen founded In 1719 for promotion of Italian opera → After castration: crossed-dressed women to sing → Supported by King these parts now, which require a male castrato → Perform opera at King's Theatre in Haymarket (Only Italian Operas performed here) → OR male tenors → Only made a fraction of what the top-quality singers made  David Daniels = unshaven? => assert his (hetero)sexuality, → On payroll because he's singing with the soprano register → Other theatres: Drury Lane → "I might sound female, but I'm a man!"  Cast List:  Castrato body : small head on a tall frame, larger chest → Romans cavity/ torso but with long, skinny limbs  Julius Caesar = alto castrato (sang all the heroic male roles) → Lack of puberty?  Curio, tribune = bass → Question of sexual capacity?  Cornelia, widow of Pompey = contralto  Didn't have fully functioning testicles because  Sesto, son of Pompey = soprano (trouser role = cross dressed woman) they were mutilated to prevent the puberty → Egyptians  We don't know if they were able to  Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt = soprano impregnate  Tolomeo, her brother/ King = alto castrato → Was there any kind of sexual attraction towards these men?  Achillas, general/ Tolomeo's advisor = bass  Nireno, Tolomeo's confidante = alto castrato  Era of no birth control = these men couldn't → Chorus: Caesar's soldiers, Egyptians impregnate you!  In a lavish production (expensive visual display), there are cast members dedicated  Plus they were rich! to chorus, whereas in a poorer production, it would just be the soloists all singingOverture: way of bringing and transitioning you from real world to the world of theatre = a new dramatic context together  Senesino (born Sienna, died 1759), Italian alto castrato (range: g- e" = narrow, like David → Help you get settled Daniels) → Very important information = musical information, engagement of oral senses → Moved to London in 1720 to join Royal Academy, sang there 1720-28 → Premiered in 32 operas there, 13 of them by Handel (including Giulio Cesare) → Series of hit tunes from the work itself → Praised for 'tremendous artistry' → e.g. 'Calm after the storm', William Tell --> Transition to the well-known faster part of the  Acrobatic, virtuosic singing and could sing the most taxing solos (where do you breathe?) but at the same time had a pure vocal quality useful for singing slow overture melodies → Solid training => Perfect intonation → Excellent shape (ability to 'trill', a tremolo) → Great elocution → Rapid divisions (virtuosity) → Right amount of ornamentation (adding of extra notes to the song, individuality as a singer)  Setting: Egypt, 48-47 BCE → JC's visit to Egypt 48-47 BCE → Egypt is under joint rule of Cleopatra and her brother Tolomeo → Chars are historical, but the details of the plot are fictional → IRL JC was 54 when he met Cleopatra but the opera shows him as much younger  3 castratos: → Senesino = JC: 8 arias (solo songs), demonstrating vocal abilities and range of emotions (expressive capabilities) → Gaetano Berenstadt = Tolomeo (3 arias) → Giuseppe Bigonzi = Nireno (0 arias)  You gave up a lot for a career to not work out  Female cast  Overture → French overture style (a German who studied in Italy, takes it to London and imports the French overture style) = overture for opera and ballet → 2 parts:  1st is slow, regal and stately; dotted rhythms  2nd part is fast and lively, imitation among instruments, generation of excitement  Structure of baroque opera = alternation of recitative and aria → Recitative (dialogue; action) → Aria (solo reflection)  Note that when JC sings his aria, he actually stays and sings another one! → Exit → Recitative → Aria → Exit → When this predictability is changed, our expectations should be different MUS206 Page 3 → When this predictability is changed, our expectations should be different  Orchestral accompaniment → Recitative = continuo group  Keyboard + bowed string instrument (e.g. harpsichord + cello/viol da gamba, etc) → Aria = full orchestra  Mainly strings, woodwinds + continuo  Brass + percussion for special FX  Structure of arias → 2 stanzas of text, an A stanza and a B stanza and then the A stanza is repeated → Orchestral introduction (ritornello), sets up the musical tone/ atmosphere → 'A' stanza = poetry → 'B' stanza = 2nd poetic stanza, contrasting sentiments with thinner/lighter orchestral scoring → Repeat of 'A' stanza with vocal ornamentation → Each section is interspersed with orchestral ritornello  Da Capo Aria Form → Ritornello → A section → Ritornello → A stanza repeated with diff music → Ritornello → B Stanza → Da capo (go back to beginning)  He constantly writes parts where the singer has to go down an octave very quickly → Written for Senesino MUS206 Page 4 Context of Giulio Cesare January-25-12 1:17 PM  On the stage: → Candles, reflectors  Flickering of light → Costumesto catch light  Gold, bright colours  Textbookpg 19 = King's Theatre in Haymarket → 800 seat theatre → Diff social classes sat in their own sections, according to ticket price/ view → Stage boxes = royalty → Ring boxes = nobility → Pit(floor)= gentlemen, intellectuals, professionals,critics, etc.  'rising bourgeois'  Achieved status thru education → Back then, they may have subscriptions to boxes and the box served as a drawing room away from home where you could socialize with the other subscribers  Determinedlistening habits; are you listening to what's happening at the theatre? → They could also be seated in the floor (pit, not the orchestra pit)  The floor was flat and the stage was raised  c.f. amphitheater style, where the stage was flat and the floor was raked  Younger/ lower rank status are in the front, the higher class are in the back → Scenery could be changed quickly; set changes  London audiences → Depending on time of year, some people came incognito (in a mask) to attend the opera  Film: 2 voices grafted together to reach a voice on a new register → Disturbances from the room could be heard from the performer → 'he has made a huge sacrifice (his sexuality) to perform so you better listen!'  Printed libretto (text/ words) → Italian with facing-page Eng. Translation (Page 37 of textbook) → How closely did the audience follow along with it? → Layout of acts & scenes plus a description of each scene → Organized into scenes and set-changes with entrances, character dialogue, solo arias and exits indicated  Kelly (pg. 40-41), dissection of sets => range of activity that happens behind one backdrop change → BUY ONE :) → c.f. programmesin modern theatre  Baroque costumes → In 18thc = wigs or headpieces → Note gestures = use of costumesas ways of display → Layering of costuming, amount of material (35-40lbs of costume) → Men with short tunics with wigs, headgear/plumage on attire, boots → Embroideryon the costume,elegant layers  Diff colours of threads, silk, satins  Geometricdesign, attention to proportion across the stage → Never look fully at the person you're singing to → But the performerswould gesture to whoeveryou're claiming to → e.g. a walking away from someonemeant you disagreed or was mad  18th c = Baroque hoop skirts, men in waistcoats  Handel could direct from keyboard, Handelian style = trills → Modern directors would be right in front; this was not an 18th c practice → Focus on the chorus → Arch lutes → Arch lutes  Recall instruments: normally some kind of keyboard + a string instrument → Arch lutes = large lute able to play low, bass resonance because the harpsichord didn't have sustaining pedal (unlike the piano, for projection)  Baroque acting style/ gestures → Highly stylized code of acting → Deportment/posture of body (=dance)  The performerswould have to be very conscious of these → Arm, hand, head and facial gestures to express emotion → Awareness of relationship b/w actors to each other and to audience (orientation) → Stage is raked (not the orchestra floor)  Upstage, downstage;geometric  Classical sculpture - e.g. Apollo, Venus, Michelangelo's David, Cupid → Weight on one foot, the other is to ornament the body → Allows the natural curvature to be shown → Natural arm poses (arm out)  Opera - sung throughout; distinguish between diff. kinds of singing → Recitative= speech singing with continuo/ reduced instrumentation → Aria = an emotion-expressingsong  Noumenal = normal opera song  Phenomenal= actual 'song' in opera with on-stage instrumental accompaniment → This is why blocks of text get sung over and over again → Adjust sense of tempo and time  Self/ other => Romans vs. Egyptians → Representing 'difference' on the operatic stage → Attraction of 'the Other' → Allure of the seductive 'East' → Foreign customs, exoticcultures and locales → Rational West vs. emotionalEast  East as foreign and otherwordly → Edward Said, Orientalism (1978)  Oversimplification,empowering of west at the expense of the east  Gender and sexuality in Baroque opera → Castrato - the eunuch on stage (Hero)  Effeminate connotations?  c.f. other places, where a eunuch means weakness  c.f. today, counter-tenors,or women dressed as men ('en travesti') = trouser/ pants role → In physical embodiment= lesbian action?  Trouser role with Cleopatra → Handel was part of a 'sexual underground' in London = he was gay?  So any homosexualundertones was probably intentional  Lots of back story behind these pieces  If the singer messed up on stage, people eating didn't notice Handel Wrap-Up + Mozart, Don Giovanni February-01-12 1:17 PM  Recall seductive Cleopatra scene; use of physical power to entice JC → Cleopatra leaves immediatelyafter; his response: the song really titillated him and he wants to follow her  See BB → Seduction at night!! ;)  Aria obligato = an obligatory soloist in the orchestra; in this one, the obligatory soloist is a violinist → e.g. Pietro Castrucci (see textbook),London  Got excerpted from the opera; music was offered for sale so you could play in your own home  Castrucci would be paid to play the aria in private; usually by elite, there were also some public performances → Competitionb/w singer and instrumentalist → Concert vs. opera performance; in a concert, you're not in costume…you're in a tux or some kind of dress and you have your music  Also, the orchestra is seen → Note video;baroque bow  End of an opera seria:you usually get someduet singing… that's what audiences wait for… the prima donna and the main castrato sing together → So it's aria, recitative,aria and recitativeTHEN duet → NOTE: 'serious operas'… they're always heroic and they always end happily  'Act of the gods' that puts things right; impediments to happiness are removed…  Conventionof the '____ fine'…. See textbook  Baroque costuming, gestures towards the past Mozart, Don Giovanni  Mozart family letters; life of Mozart….Learning how to ride in a carriage, being in rehearsal, getting his musical results → Writing an opera for a particular singer that he meets; tailor the music to the singer…. Only the singer can deliver the character, a song out of the singers reach will not be believable → The score was not complete when he first went to Prague (where the commissionwas)  3-day journey in a coach, then he has 5 working days to bring the opera out of the incompletestage…  He works with the singers, tailors the music to the singers and getting the best out of the singers  They kept on having to movethe opera behind because they took a long time to get ready  It's a comedy = timing issues; it has to be fast-paced, moving so requires more stage direction  There is no formal stage director…this role is assumed by the librettist = Lorenzo Da Ponte (textbook)  Da Ponte had kind of a scandalous life in Italy and was kicked out, but he was a Jewish poet; but he converts and works in a Catholic → Worked in London as a librettist in the 1700s → Lived 30yrs after Mozart → When he writes about scandals, he may have based it on his own life  Is Don Giovanni comic or serious? → It's a serious comedy; based on folk history, folktale, plays → A 'modern' update that was part of the folk culture thru the 17th c → The character of Don Giovanni was kind of menacing → He's got good breeding but Don Giovanni sees having affairs with women as 'conquests'  1800 different women! (PIMP)  1800 different women! (PIMP)  In Spain = Raucous?  To London, Spain was incredibly licentious…. Moral decay/ disgust  A distance, but close enough to be believable  Changes in societal norm = monogamyto polygamy around the 18th c → Now MEN can have multiple relationships  If it's a woman, it's labeled prostitution, and become ostracized by family → There are some consequences  e.g. illegitimate children; is that why his story haunted the 17th and 18th c?  Various social classes will have different responses  It's okay, but stay away from my daughters…  'macho guy' planting his seed up the social hierarchy… → No moral tether at all! → What is the church willing to sanction? (note textbookdoesn't mention the church…) → This opera debuts in southern Europe -> catholic… you can't do opera during holidays like Lent and Advent  Themes of Don Giovanni → A man on conquests for women → Graveyard scene, sucker scene, constance (heavy drinker, quite slovenly in his demeanour)  Not only is he ravenous with women, but with food and hedonistic  The censors… → Premieredin Prague, then performed in Vienna…. In Vienna, they censored some lines  e.g. 'Long Live Liberty' was censored in Vienna → c.f. Marriage of Figaro couldn't be shown (in German) in Vienna; in Italian, it's okay because they don't know what the dialogue means  Comic drama; opera buffa → Lower class, buffoons (do not exist in opera seria) → Real contemporaries;contemporary-dressed,you see people you could meet on the street → When he writes about all social classes, he bases them on everyday classes → Some seriousness (e.g. death on stage in opening scene of Don Giovanni)  e.g. being dragged down to hell => Raucous fun? Hah… => retribution for his sins → Natural pace, much morefluid and integrated  Changes in tone happen with underpinning music → Order:  Recitative,aria, recitative,aria -> full orchestra @ end → Kind of making fun of other operas of the time  Playing hit songs from other operas  Use of wind instruments  Mentions of other operas  Showing orchestra  During this time, the church was losing authority → So at the end, he's dragged down to hell → Moral closure → Mozart wrestled with the ending… he tried multiple ways  Act 2 Finale = Final Scene (there are 2 acts) → 20mins of cts. Music → Don Giovanni, Donna Elvira?, Leporello(servant), 'stoned guest' (he's been killed and is now a cemeterystatue comeback from death to take Don Giovanni down) → Don Giovanni & Leporello = both baritone basses  On a low-lit stage, they could successfully switch  Castratos are not for opera buffa; we need to depict people in everydaylife = natural voiceregister  But normally the main character is a tenor, not baritone → Quotes himself; quotes the Marriage of Figaro  Inserts it in this opera because the scene is similar; the master of the servant who  Inserts it in this opera because the scene is similar; the master of the servant who takes the food in this scene will no longer be a 'flitting butterfly'… music = overshadows → Donna Elvira dreams of marrying Don Giovanni  Rejected;he's too pervy → The stoned guest arrives  Earlier the statue spoke to Don Giovanni in the cemetery(he's drunk) and invites the statue for dinner… now he's come to dinner  The music was actually heard before = the overture  The music played earlier is now recalled with text  Unique: full orchestra, trombones(trombones= for church because of its dark, sombre quality => worship and repentance) = this momentis not just secular retribution, it calls all authority of the catholic church and act of repentance; Don Giovanni is defiant when the church is rising again  Represents some kind of demonic character  'Last chance to repent for your life'  DG refuses  He brings hell to the stage = fire  Trap door = brought down to hell  Original ending… the rest of the characters comeout and respond (they don't do this nowadays)  Leporellotells them not to expect DG anymore; he's been swallowed by the devil  The heroic couple have their momentagain (tenor + soprano); he's the TRUE love and his voice type tells us that  She says to wait a year… she must mourn her father's death  Donna Elvira is gonna go to a convent  Leporellofinds a better master  'Good riddance'  'All sinners get their punishment', 'The wicked one die' = message to the audience  Naked DG at end? Still a don in hell ;)  No orchestral break Don Giovanni (Prague 1787) February-08-12 1:18 PM  Opera buffa in 2 acts by Mozart (composer)and Lorenzo Da Ponte (librettist)  Subtitle: "The Rake Punished"  Other titles, "DG and the Stone Guest"  @ Nostitz Theatre in Prague  Mozart = 31 at this time; his father Leopold recently died  Recall Da Ponte: → Da Ponte had kind of a scandalous life in Italy and was kicked out, but he was a Jewish poet; but he converts and works in a Catholic  Worked in London as a librettist in the 1700s  Lived 30yrs after Mozart  When he writes about scandals, he may have based it on his own life  Setting: 17th C, Seville (Spain)  There are many retellings of life and death of DG, but commonelements include a libertine (DG; a rapist), Commendatore(later comes back as the stone guest), rustic wedding, stone guest, banquet scene (stone guest arrives to pull DG back to hell)  The Bondini Opera Company → Impresario = Pasquale Bondini; he hired the popular people!! → Not associated with a court → Appealed to a paying public → 3 Female Singers; Bondini's wife sang the role of Zerlina → 4 Male Singers  Case → DG = Baritone → Leporello(Servant) = bass baritone → Donna Anna = Soprano → Don Ottavio= Tenor → Il Commendatore(DA's father, the stone guest) = Bass → Donna Elvira (In love with DG) = Soprano → Zerlina = Soprano → Masetto = Bass → Chorus of peasants/ servants  Social class on stage → Serious (parti serie) = The Nobility/ Aristocrats = Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Commendatore → Middle chars (Mexxo carattere)= DG (because of his raucous character), Donna Elvira → Comic (parti buffe) = Lower class; servants, peasants = Leporello,Zerlina & Massetto  DG = Luigi Bassi (age 21); it looks better if DG is young… older plus younger women would go for you! → Serenading below window in Act 2 (canzonetta, with Mandolin obbligato) →
More Less

Related notes for MUS206H1

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.