A History of Opera: Milestones and Metamorphoses (Opera by Burton D Fisher

By Burton D Fisher

A accomplished historical past of opera that lines every one milestone in opera heritage from Monteverdi to Gluck to Weber via to trendy occasions and Glass and Heggie. All sessions are broadly analyzed: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Bel Canto, Opera Buffa, German Romanticism, Wagner and tune drama, Verismo, plus analyses of the Tristan Chord, atonalism, minimalism, et al.

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Mozart died before its premiere, and one is tempted to speculate how Mozart would have darkened that episode with his music had he attacked an opera on the subject. M ozart’s The Marriage of Figaro antedates Rossini’s The Barber of Seville by thirty years. Rossini’s work essentially owes its provenance to another opera based on Beaumarchais: Paisello’s Barbiere di Siviglia (1780). But it was Rossini’s admiration for Mozart’s Marriage that strongly persuaded him to create his Barber opera, a work now acclaimed as the greatest opera buffa ever written, as well as the perfect companion piece to Mozart’s Marriage.

Mille pene, ombre sdegnose” And: “Men tiranne, sh! Voi sareste al mio pianot, al mio lamento” A History of Opera: Milestones and Metamorphoses Page 46 Orfeo’s appeal succeeds in softening the Furies: they confess that his song vanquishes them; they divide and allow the victor to pass through. In the brilliantly lighted Elysian Fields, shades dance, a scene of romantic beauty in which a flute solo sublimely expresses Orfeo’s suffering and despair. Dance of the Shades in the Elysian Fields: Euridice expresses her happiness living among the blessed spirits.

Is the opera monotonous when the three principal characters are women? Nevertheless, one of Gluck’s greatest achievements for the Paris revise was the addition of the incredibly beautiful flute solo for the scene in which the hero enters the Elysian Fields, an instrumental writing that many consider a marvel of musical invention. Gluck’s Orfeo represented the composer’s revolutionary opera manifesto, a reaction against the complicated Metastasian plots that had dominated the opera seria, and had reduced the art form to a spectacle of absurdities, senseless ostentation, and melodramatic overstatement.

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