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An Introduction to Opera

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1 An Introduction to Opera
Vocabulary and Voice Types

2 James Flora Nessun Dorma Turandot
Have you ever heard an opera singer?

3 What is opera? It’s a story told in music.
Performances are given in opera houses and the singers are accompanied by an orchestra. Operas have beautiful scenery and costumes. Opera singers are trained to used their voices and do not use microphones. The story is told in several musical ways. Main characters sing by themselves. (aria) Sometimes groups of 2, 3, 4 or more singers sing together and at the same time. (ensembles) Many times there is a chorus too.

4 Operas are performed in opera houses.
La Scala Opera House, Milan, Italy Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, New York

5 Operas have scenery and costumes.
Hansel and Gretel

6 Operas singers do not use microphones.
Hai-Ting Chinn (left, as Hansel), Leon Natker as The Witch and Kate Oberjat as Gretel in Lyric Opera's "Hansel and Gretel." (Photo by Ken Jacques)

7 Aria: a musical piece for one singer.
Aria is the Italian word for song. The letter aria in Eugene Onegin is 14 minutes long.

8 Chorus: a group of singers
Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh performing Children’s Chorus in Turandot by Puccini

9 Composer: a person who writes music; in opera the composer sets the words to music to tell the story
Giacomo Puccini , composer of Madame Butterfly

10 Diva: female singer Renee Fleming, in Verdi's La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera

11 Divo: male singer Bryn Terfel as Sir John Falstaff; Falstaff

12 Duet: a musical piece for two voices
Nannetta and Fenton (Resident Artists Shannon Kessler Dooley and James Flora) in Pittsburgh Opera's Falstaff.

13 Ensemble: Group of musicians playing or singing together
Ensemble: Group of musicians playing or singing together. When the chorus, or all the main characters are singing, it is called an “ensemble” number. Ensemble: On the country estate of the widowed Madame Larina, the peasants return from the fields celebrating the harvest with song and dance from Vancouver Opera’s Eugene Onegin.

14 Librettists for Carmen
Librettist: a person who writes the text of the opera Libretto means “little book.” Ludovic Halévy Henri Meilhac Librettists for Carmen

15 Libretto: The words to an opera, usually in book form

16 Quartet: a musical piece for four voices
Alice Ford, Meg Page, Nannetta and Dame Quickly laugh as they plot their revenge on Falstaff for sending identical love letters to Alice and Meg in Pittsburgh Opera's Falstaff.

17 Overture Overture: music played by the orchestra before an opera begins

18 Prompter: the person in a booth at the foot of the stage who gives singers cues
Prompter in Prompt Box at Opera: Prompter Phillip Eisenberg conducts from the prompt box during a staging rehearsal of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca at the San Francisco Opera House.

19 Score:a printed sheet with the words and music of an opera
Georges Bizet, Carmen Act II Quintet; Nous avons en tête une affaire

20 Tempo: the speed of a musical piece
The speed of music as indicated by such terms as allegro, presto, adagio, lento, and andante. Tempo (Italian for time, plural: tempi) is an important element of composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.

21 Trio: musical piece for three voices
Falstaff and his cronies in the opera's opening scene at the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Lisa Wiltse

22 Each voice type is illustrated on this PBS site

23 Soprano Range of soprano voice
A soprano is a singing voice with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) or higher in operatic music. "Jewel Song" from Gounods's Faust, featuring Mary Mills as Marguerite (coloratura soprano) and the Opera Company of Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Jacques Lacombe. Excerpt courtesy of Opera Company of Philadelphia.

24 Range of mezzo-soprano voice
A mezzo-soprano is the "medium" classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices. "Why do they shut me out of heaven?" Number 3, Twelve Poems of Emily Dickenson by Aaron Copland

25 Range of contralto voice
In music, a contralto is a type of classical female singing voice with a vocal range somewhere between a tenor and a mezzo-soprano.  http://www.xenia-maria-mann.com/english/ Contralto ORFEO ED EURIDICE Orfeo from the recitativ of the aria „Che farò"

26 Tenor Range of tenor voice
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice.  http://www.roberto-sacca.com/frameengl.html Tenor RIGOLETTO: Possente amor

27 Range of baritone voice
Baritone is a type of classical male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice. Henry Purcell"Wond'rous Machine!", from Hail Bright CeciliaCollegium Vocale Orchestra and Choir, dir. Philippe Herreweghe

28 Bass Range of bass voice
A bass is a type of classical male singing voice and possesses the lowest vocal range of all voice types. Me voici" from Gounod's Faust, featuring William Burden as Faust, Richard Bernstein as Méphistophélès, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Jacques Lacombe. Excerpt courtesy of Opera Company of Philadelphia

29 Common vocal ranges represented on a keyboard
                                  Soprano Mezzo-soprano Contralto Tenor Baritone Bass

30 Madame Butterfly Puccini wrote 5 versions of this famous opera.
It first premiered in 1904. It takes place in Nagasaki, Japan. A United States Naval officer Pinkerton falls in love with a Japanese woman, Cio-Cio San, nicknamed Butterfly. Butterfly falls in love with the officer, Pinkerton. He leaves to go back to the United States Madame Butterfly loves him for the rest of her life.

31 Madame Butterfly

32 Works Cited http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/shows/operatunity/multimedia
"Jewel Song" from Gounods's Faust, featuring Mary Mills as Marguerite (coloratura soprano) and the Opera Company of Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Jacques Lacombe. Excerpt courtesy of Opera Company of Philadelphia.  http://www.music.appstate.edu/faculty/greene/ Mezzo-soprano: "Why do they shut me out of heaven?" Number 3, Twelve Poems of Emily Dickenson by Aaron Copland  http://www.xenia-maria-mann.com/english/ Contralto ORFEO ED EURIDICE Orfeo from the recitativ of the aria „Che farò"  http://www.roberto-sacca.com/frameengl.html Tenor RIGOLETTO: Possente amor  http://www.arts.gov/national/GAV/voicetypes.html Bass Me voici" from Gounod's Faust, featuring William Burden as Faust, Richard Bernstein as Méphistophélès, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Jacques Lacombe. Excerpt courtesy of Opera Company of Philadelphia Henry Purcell"Wond'rous Machine!", from Hail Bright CeciliaCollegium Vocale Orchestra and Choir, dir. Philippe Herreweghe Voice types Bravo! Brava! A Night at the Opera: Behind the Scenes with Composers, Cast, and Crew by Anne Siberell and Frederica von Stade, 2002, University Press conservapedia.com/images/9/91/Tchaikovsky1.jpg

33 Works Cited mustard.tapor.uvic.ca/.../xq/xhtml.xq?id=126
pro.corbis.com/Enlargement/Enlargement.aspx?i... davidrwhitney.com/wtoc-scenery.php https:/.../VPAC80/Projects/Marigo/music6.html ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/08/ionarts-in-santa... 2008blog.glimmerglass.org/2008/07/reclaiming-...

34 Works Cited 2008blog.glimmerglass.org/2008/07/reclaiming-... Hansel: Madame Butterfly: Madame Butterfly:


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