Music History: Romantic Period Opera

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The Barber of Seville

Librettist was Servini
Featured use of Scena
Written in under two months
Opera of Rossini
1st performance tanked due to the success of the opera of the same name by Pagalasi

Rossini

Carried the interest of Italian Opera
Gains a contract with the French Court for $6000 a year
In 1829 writes William Tell and then retires.
1830 there was a revolution in which King Charles was overthrown. The contract was annulled. Rossini took legal action and got the contract reinstated.
Typical Style: Written out ornamentations, simple choral writing due to most members in the choir not being able to read music.

Grand Opera

Paris Opera House Manager: Veron
Librettist: Scribe
Composer: Mayerbeer
Success of Opera was due to cast, costumes, spectacle, homey feel, staging.
Continuous singing but not extensive use of aria or recit
Sung in French
Subject Material drawn from modern history
Example: Les Hugenots

Opera Comique

Librettist: Scribe
Most composers wrote both Grand Opera and Opera Comique.
Smaller cast and less elaborate
Spoken Dialogue: Spoken Dialogue automatically classifies an opera as opera comique
Example: Bizet's Carmen (only due to the spoken dialogue)

Rescue Opera

Hero taken into captivity but then rescued
Characters are easy to love or loathe
Spoken Dialogue
Considered a type of Opera Comique

German Romantic Opera

Roots:
Brief Movement by Keiser
SIngspiel:
Mozart- Abduction from the seriallia and The Magic Flute
Schubert wrote 9 Operas
Weber
Wagner

Carl Maria Von Weber

(1786-1826)
Direct contemporary with Beethoven and Schubert
Opera director in Prague and Dresden
Compiled Das Knaben Wunderhorn
1810- Founds Secret Harmonic Society
Sets the stage for German Opera and Nationalism
Der Freischutz

Der Freischutz

Weber
Quintessential German Romantic Opera
Taken from German Myth
Takes place in a green, forest in Germany
Supernatural Forces
Max is a hunter
Sells soul to devil in order to obtain magic bullets
Horns represent hunters
Continuous music
Kind- librettist

Richard Wagner

Born in 1813
Began composing in 1829
Undertakes several dramatic works while a student
Often rights his own libretto
Popular Operas:
The Marriage
The Faires
The Flying Dutchman
The Ring Cycle
Lohengrin
Tanhauser

Lohengrin

Last Important German Romantic Opera
Not performed until 1850 under the direction of Franz Liszt
Story found in German Myth and Legend
Diatonic Harmony
Sprechgesang
1st Opera to refer to the overture as a Prelude
Each act contains a prelude

Tannhauser

German elements but in the style of Grand Opera
Orchestra becomes more important- the introduction of leit motifs
Increase in chromatisicm
About a knight who is in love with Venus goes to Rome to ask for Forgiveness, the forgiveness is denied; saved only through love
Sprechgeasang

The Ring Cycle

The 4 Operas: Die Rheingold, Walkure, Siegfried, Gotterdamung
Each Opera is 4-5 hours long
Extensive use of Leit motifs: Some say at least 200
Grandiose song cycle
Wagner Tuba
Large brass sections

Essays of Wagner

Art and Government
Artwork of the Future
Opera and Drama

Gesamt Kunstwerk

"Complete Artwork"
Human arts: Dance, Music, Poem (Gesture, Tone, Text)
Plastic Arts: Sculpture, Painting, Architecture
All combine to make one universal artwork

Uprising in Dresden in 1849

Wagner takes the side of the Rebels
The rebels loose
Wagner flees to Switzerland

1871- Acquiring of land of Bayreuth

Ludwig of Bavaria funds the building of Wagner's Opera house
Setup of stage so that the orchestra is underneath the actors and conductor is at eye level with the stage but hidden from the audience
Annual Bayreuth Festivals beginning in 1876

Tristan (1865)

Focused on the feelings of the characters
Leit motifs work together
Signals the demise of functional harmony and adverts the rise of pan-tonality and atonality

Parsifal

Wagner is becoming anti-semantic due to the popularity of Jewish composers in Germany
Picks up the legend of the holy grail

Impact Of Wagner

Similar to that of Beethoven
Impact on Shaw, Debussy, and Wolf
In 1886 there were no less than 200 Wagnerian Societies
Many journals were written about Wagner

Verdi

Exact contemporary with Wagner
1836 get's Married
1840 Wife and children die
Wrote 2 symphonies, sacred works, opera

Operas of Verdi

Oberto
Nabucco
Mac Beth
Rigoletto
Il Travatore
La Traviata
Otello
(26 Operas in all)

Nabucco

Verdi's 1st Great Triumph
Based off of the story of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Captivity
Italians claimed this opera as a story of the Italians

Viva Verdi!

Victoria Emanuel Re de Italia
Praised both the king and verdi
Proves Verdi's popularity

La Traviata

Based off of the play "Marguerite" by Dumas
The story of the real life Marie, Dumas's love interest
Marie lives life similar to George Sand
The character in La Traviata is Violetta
Violetta dies of consumption
Use of Scena
Deals with Real people

Scena

Recit-Cantabile- Tempo di Mezzo- Cabaletta

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