2 OperaIn Italian opera means “work”, and refers to a musical drama in which singers convey the drama.An opera unites all art forms:-literature;-singing;-acting; -sometimes dance (especially in French operas)-costumes;-musical instruments,-scenery-staging.
3 The origins of operaThe history of opera can be traced back to ancient Greecewhere people would perform musical dramas with an occasionalsong from the choir to further the plot.Using recitatives, the Italian, Jacopo Peri ( ), created the very first Italian opera, Dafne, which debuted in 1594.Later, Peri wrote a piece of music for the comedy La pellegrinathat was performed at the wedding of the Grand DukeFerdinando and Christine of Lorraine.This music is called an intermedi, which is a musical interludeperformed between acts in a play.
4 The golden age of baroque opera during the XVIIth century The first great composer of operas wasClaudio Monteverdi ( ) who produced opera’sfirst masterpiece, L’Orfeo, which premiered in Mantua, Italyin 1607.Opera soon spread from Venice andRome throughout Italy andthe rest of Europe with Lully in France,Schütz in Germanyand Purcell in England,all helped to establish theirnational traditions duringthe 17th century.
5 In Italy, two parallel genres of opera develop simultaneously: -The opera seria (serious opera) in opposition to-The opera buffa (of popular origins).In France, the history of opera begins with a playthat incorporated a number of songs, Le jeu de Robin et Marion by Adam de la Halle and performed in 1275.This play is considered to be oneof the first operas because itcombined dialogues - either spoken or sung. However, the songs were of popular origins, and were not new compositions.
6 The French Ballet de Cour As in Italy, the 16th century in France had its form of entertainmentmixing theatrics, voices and instruments. It was known as theballet de cour, and its first known example was theBallet de la Royne by Joyeuse (1581).Since then, in France, ballet is included in the staging of an opera.Performance of Alceste in Versailles (1674)
7 Lully and French opera-Lully ( ) came to France under Louis XIV and startedto write ballets for the king, who loved to dance. In one especially famous ballet the king danced the role of Apollo,the Sun-God, whence the image of the Sun-King.-In 1664, Lully ( ) worked on 13 comédies-ballets with the playwright Molière (La Princesse d’Élide;Le Mariage forcé, 1664;L'Amour médecin, 1665;Georges Dandin, 1668;Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, 1669;Le Bourgeois gentilhomme,1670; Psyché, 1671).At times, both clashed on mattersof pronunciation and howto set the French language to music,and their collaboration ended in 1671.Jean-Baptiste Lully
8 -After Molière's death (1673), Lully moved to create the French answer to the Italian opera seria, but it was more of a sungtragedy than an opera, the first ot these works was Cadmus,performed in 1673.-The 17th century was also the high point of French tragedy,as served by Corneille and Racine.Lully extended this genre of tragedy into music, hence thegeneric names of French opera seria became tragédies en musiqueor tragédies lyriques.-Lully's operas were to profoundly shape the history of Frenchopera, down to the late 19th century.-Among the main characteristics were: an orchestral accompaniment,the inclusion of danced interludes, a standard structure of a Prologuefollowed by 5 acts, frequent dramatic and musical use of the chorus,libretti written in refined verse, subjects drawn from classical mythology.Most of these characteristics persisted down to Verdi.
9 The librettist Lully’s first tragédie lyrique Cadmus et Hermione was performed on the 27th of April 1673 on a libretto written byPhilippe Quinault ( ) who became his librettist life-long librettist and the first ofthe great opera librettists.Philippe Quinault
10 Under the Sun King (Louis XIV), Lully controled musical life in Paris andVersailles.He had a great influence onEuropean music of his timeand he inspired many composerssuch as Henry Purcell,Georg Friedrich Haendel,Johann Sebastian Bach,and Jean-Philippe Rameau. Lully's operas were written mainlyfor the king in Versailles, but they were immediately performed inParis as well, in the newly created Académie Royale de Musiqueor Paris opera.
11 The greatest epigone of Lully was André Campra (1660-1744), whose style is close to that of the master, but who showed moreinvention in particular in the choral writing.Tancrède was quite successful, and performed until 1764.(The title-role was created, and sung for 30 years, by Thévenard.)André Campra (right), librettistAntoine Danchet (centre),and artist Bon Boullogne (left).
12 Marc-Antoine Charpentier (164-1704) was more influenced by Italian opera, and was not in favor with Lully, who possiblydetected a serious rival.Charpentier's friendship with the king's nephew (Philippe d'Orléans,future Regent) got him a shot at the Paris opera in the form ofMédée.
13 Baroque opera: Cecilia Bartoli in Händel's Lascia la Spina
14 The French opéra-comique The French opéra-comique was born on the 14th of May 1697.On that day, Louis XIV, pressured by French playwrights,ordered the closure of the Italian Theatre in Paris.When the Italian theatre closed, the people running various fairsaround Paris quickly organized spectacles meant to replacethose offered by the Italians.-At that time, there were six fairs around Paris, and two ofthem were extremely popular:The Foire Saint Germain (open between February and April)and the Foire Saint Laurent (open from the end of July untilthe end of September.) These fairs gave birth to a type of entertainment full of vitalitywith plays where singing alternated with spoken dialogues. Eventually, an opera house was opened for their performance.
18 Opera in EnglandIn England, one of opera's antecedents in the 16th century was anafterpiece which came at the end of a play; often scandalous andconsisting in the main of dialogue set to music arranged from populartunes.In this respect such afterpieces anticipate the ballad operas of the18th century.At the same time, the French masque was gaining a firm hold at theEnglish Court, with lavish splendor and highly realistic scenery.Inigo Jones became the leading designer of these productions,and this style was to dominate the English stage for three centuries.These masques contained songs and dances.In Ben Jonson's Lovers Made Men (1617), "the whole masquewas sung after the Italian manner, stilo recitativo.
19 Purcell and his contemporaries The approach of the English Commonwealthclosed theatres and halted any developmentsthat may have led to the establishment of Englishopera.However, in 1656, the dramatist Sir WilliamDavenant produced The Siege of Rhodes.Since his theatre was not licensed to producedrama, he asked several of the leading composers(Henry Lawes, Cooke, Locke, Coleman and Hudson)to set sections of it to music. This success was followed byThe Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru (1658) and The History of SirFrancis Drake (1659).These pieces were encouraged by Oliver Cromwell because theywere critical of Spain.
20 With the English Restoration, foreign (especially French) musicians were welcomed back.In 1673, Thomas Shadwell introduced Psyche, patterned on the 1671'comédie-ballet’ Psyche produced by Molière and Lully.William Davenant introduced The Tempest in the same year, whichwas the first Shakespeare play to be set to music (composed by Lockeand Johnson).
21 Late Baroque operaThe next big figure after Lully was Jean-Philippe Rameau ( ).The first opera was Hippolyte et Aricie (1733), the libretto inspiredby Racine's play Phèdre. The novelty of Rameau's music, especiallyin the orchestral accompaniment and the density of musical material,sparked furious controversy betweenLullists and Ramists; but within a fewyears Rameau had come to dominatethe the stage, and remained thepre-eminent composer of operas to hisdeath in Rameau contributed to: tragédies lyriques(Castor et Pollux 1737, Dardanus 1739, Zoroastre 1749, les Boréades 1764) and opéras-ballets (Platée, Pygmalion,les Surprises de l'amour, les Indes galantes,Anacréon, les Boréades).Jean-Philippe Rameau
22 The Querelle des Bouffons In the early 1750s, an extraordinary controversy, called theQuerelle des Bouffons, raged amidst the Paris intelligentsia.In 1752, the Paris opera's management decided to invite a companyof Italian singers for a year-long residence, to perform Italian buffas,including Pergolese's Serva Padrona.To many, the Italian music seemed so airy, so light in contrast tothe intellectual complexity of the tragédie en musique.The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, himself a composer, andthe author of most of the music entries in the Encyclopédie,led the camp of the pro-Italians. He and Rameau were alreadyengaged in a rather bitter controversy over those articles, some ofwhich attacked Rameau's treatise on harmony (Rameau was aproponent of equal temperament, which Rousseau claimed was amathematician's delight but a musician's nightmare).The controversy was furious.
23 In order to appease the opponents, the government commissioned Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville ( ) to write an operawhich could serve as rallying point.This he did with Titon et l'Aurore.It won the day, in particular because Louis XV sent soldiers to takeover the pit held by the pro-Italian subscribers; during the night ofthe creation, reports of the battle were sent every 15mn to Versailles.The battle was won by the French side, although the “war” raged formonths. In the end, the pro-French party won and Italian musicwas expelled from the Opera.
24 The Eighteenth Century During the 18th century, Italian opera dominated most of Europe,except France, attracting foreign composers such as Handel.After Lully and Rameau, the next big event in Paris was Glück ( ), who wrote for the Paris opera in the traditionof the tragédie lyrique.His operas were performed into the 1820s, alongside those of Piccinni, Sacchiniand Grétry, Paisiello and Spontini (1800s), until Rossini came along.Maria Callas.- "J'ai perdu mon Eurydice”Milan, Italythe Scala built in 1778
25 The Classic opera (from c. 1750 to c. 1820) The most influential figure of late 18th century opera was Mozart,( ) who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comicoperas, especially The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutteand The Magic Flute, a landmark in theGerman tradition.Cecilia Bartoli - Mozart - Nozze di Figaro - Voi che sapeteWolfgang Amadeus Mozart
26 Operas of the Romantic era The first third of the 19th century saw the highpoint of the bel canto style, withRossini, Donizetti and Bellini all creating works that are still performed today.In the French Romantic operas choirs and ballets were very important.It is a type of opera seria called melodramma in Italie and grand opéra in France. Thanks to the Romantic opera, opera became popular in all majors cities.In France, during the XIXth century we find the opéra-comiques of Boieldieuand Hérold, then, Meyerbeer developed the grand-opéra historique romantiqueSuch as Robert le Diable. This style is adopted by Fromenthal Halévy, theauthor of La Juive.Académie royale de MusiqueDestroyed by fire in 1873.
31 Opéra Bouffe or the French operetta of Offenbach -At the same time, during the middle of the 19th century,Jacques Offenbach ( ) develops theFrench operetta or opéra bouffe.The music and the content of the opérabouffe is very much lighter in style thanthe comedies of opéra comiques and the plotis developed through spoken dialogues.-The best known of Offenbach's works in this formis Orphée aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld).This operetta mocks the serious legend tackledearlier by Monteverdi and by Glück, among many others.-Now Orpheus is glad to be rid of Eurydice, while she is quite happyto enjoy herself in the Underworld, where the Blessed Spirits havegreeted her with a spirited can- can.-Operettas were further developed in France by Lecocq and Messager.
33 18th and 19th centuries England Following Purcell, for many years Great Britain was essentially anoutpost of Italianate and French opera.Handel's opera serias dominated the London operatic stages fordecades, and even home-grown composers such as Thomas Arneand John Frederick Lampe wrote using Italian models.This situation continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries,including the works of Michael Balfe and William Vincent Wallace.The only exceptions during these centuries were ballad operas,such as John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728), musical burlesques,European operettas, and late Victorian era light operas, notably theSavoy Operas of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.John Barnett made a serious attempt to follow in the footsteps ofCarl Maria von Weber with his opera The Mountain Sylph (1834),the first through-composed (i.e. completely sung) English opera.
34 The mid to late 19th century is considered a golden age of opera, led by Wagner ( ) in Germanyand Verdi ( ) in Italy.Luciano Pavarotti - La donna e mobile - Rigoletto - VerdiDuring the late 19th century,Realism in opera is developed inthe operas of Gounod ( , Faust),Bizet ( , Carmen)and then Massenet ( ,Manon, Werther).Bizet, CARMEN Final scene Migenes Domingo (Rosi Film)
35 The golden age continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through Puccini and Straussin the early 20th century.At the same time, new operatic traditions emerged inCentral and Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia and Bohemia.Puccini
36 Théâtre du Châtelet: The imperial theatre, the Châtelet was built between 1860 et 1862 by Gabriel Davioud upon therequest of Baron Haussmann, at the same time as the City Theatre (Théâtre de la Ville) which is built just across the place du Châtelet..
37 Russian operaRussian opera reached its peak in the work of such composers asGlinka, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov,Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.Searching for its typical and characteristic features,Russian opera (and Russian music as a whole),has often been under strong foreign influence.Italian, French, and German operas have servedas examples, even when composers sought tointroduce special, national elements into their work.This dualism, to a greater or lesser degree, haspersisted throughout the whole history of Russianopera.
38 American opera-American composers like Gershwin, Gian Carlo Menotti, andCarlisle Floyd began to contribute English-language operas infusedwith touches of popular musical styles.-They were followed by modernists like Philip Glass, Mark Adamo,John Coolidge Adams, and Jake Heggie.-Moreover non-native-English speaking composers have occasionallyset English libretti (e.g. Hans Werner Henze, We Come to the River).
39 American MusicalsThe greatest revolution in the American musical theatrecame in 1927 with Show Boat, by Oscar Hammerstein II andJerome Kern. They introduced the musical play as distinguishedfrom musical comedy.Paul Robeson - Showboat - Ol' Man RiverThe musical play made further forward strides with Of Thee I Sing!,the brilliant political satire by George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskindand Ira and George Gershwin; with two more musicals by JeromeKern, Cat and the Fiddle and Music in the Air; with several moremusicals by Rodgers and Hart, most notably On Your Toes andPal Joey; and most of all with the first of the Rodgers andHammerstein masterworks, Oklahoma!, with which the musical playfinally became a significant American art form.The musical play and musical comedy are today the two majorbranches of the American musical theatre.
40 The Twentieth CenturyAt the beginning of the XXth century, opera undergoes varioustransformations. Debussy ( ) composes an operaPelléas et Melisande. Ravel and Dukas also contribute to variousmusical innovations.Debussy - Pelléas et MélisandeThe 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles,such as atonality and serialism (Schoenberg and Berg),Neo-Classicism (Stravinsky),and Minimalism (Philip Glass and John Adams).With the rise of recording technology, singers such asEnrico Caruso became known to audiences beyond the circleof opera fans.
43 British opera: 20th century - today -In the 20th century, English opera began to assert more independence, with the works of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Rutland Boughton and later Benjamin Britten, who, in a series of fine works that remain in standard repertory today, revealed an excellent flair for the dramatic and superb musicality.-Other British composers writing well-received operas in the late 20th century include Richard Rodney Bennett (e.g. The Mines of Sulphur), Harrison Birtwhistle (Punch and Judy), Peter Maxwell Davies (Taverner) and Oliver Knussen (Where the Wild Things Are). Today composers such as Thomas Adès continue to export English opera abroad.Benjamin Britten: The Turn of The Screw
44 Questions: 1. What is an opera? 2. What is an operetta? 3. What is the difference between an opéra-comique and a opera lyrique?4. Who was Offenbach?5. What is a libretto?6. Name some themes that inspired Romantic opera composers?7. What differenciates a French opera from other operas?8. How many opera composers can you name?