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Introduction to Opera. O Mio Babbino Caro O Mio Babbino Caro Opera: Gianni Schicchi Composer: Giocomo Puccini O mio babbino caro Mi piace è bello, bello.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Opera. O Mio Babbino Caro O Mio Babbino Caro Opera: Gianni Schicchi Composer: Giocomo Puccini O mio babbino caro Mi piace è bello, bello."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Opera

2 O Mio Babbino Caro O Mio Babbino Caro Opera: Gianni Schicchi Composer: Giocomo Puccini O mio babbino caro Mi piace è bello, bello Vo'andare in Porta Rossa a comperar l'anello! Sì, sì, ci voglio andare! e se l'amassi indarno, andrei sul Ponte Vecchio, ma per buttarmi in Arno! Mi struggo e mi tormento! O Dio, vorrei morir! Babbo, pietà, pietà! Babbo, pietà, pietà! O my dearest daddy He is pleasing to me, and so handsome I want to go to Porta Rossa to buy the ring! Yes, yes, I want to go there! And if my love were in vain, I would go to the Ponte Vecchio, and throw myself in the Arno! I am aching, I am tortured! Oh God, I'd rather die! Father, have pity, have pity! Father, have pity, have pity!

3 Why aren’t operas in English? PROBLEM: Most operas were written in Europe in their native languages (Italian, French, and German) Hard to translate to the same music RESOLUTION: Supertitles to the rescue! (in the 1980s) Librettos Plot Summaries

4 What type of voice am I hearing? Soprano –Typically the highest paid singer – also the most common –Most sympathetic roles & sing the highest notes –Types: Coloratura, Lyric, Soubrette, Dramatic Mezzo Soprano (Habanera from Carmen by Bizet) –Mezzo means “half” –Usually play tramps, vamps, witches, trouser roles Contralto –Lowest female voice type –Portrays maids, mothers, grandmothers Tenor (Rodolfo’s Aria from La Boheme by Puccini) –Compete most with sopranos in pay checks –Highest-singing male voice –Usually play the male love interest; generally likable, vulnerable parts. Baritone (Il balen del suo sorriso from Il Trovatore by Verdi) –Sing in the medium voice range for a male –Usually play the all-around fun guy roles! –Dramatic baritone are often villains, evil prison wardens, etc. Bass (In Diese Heil’gen Hallen from Die Zauberflote by Mozart) –Lowest paid of all –Sing the lowest notes the human voice can reach –Usually play priests, kings, fathers or the devil What makes them different than pop or musical theatre singers??? (Size of voice, orchestra, no mics, age)

5 Opera Terminology Libretto/Librettist – the script of an opera/the person that wrote the script Musical Score/Composer – the music of an opera/the person that wrote the music Recitative – Speech-singing, the singer semi-chants the words – imitating the free rhythms of speech Giunse alfin il momento The moment finally arrives Che godro senz'affanno When I'll enjoy [experience joy] without haste In braccio all'idol mio In the arms of my beloved... Timide cure uscite dal mio petto! Fearful anxieties, get out of my heart! A turbar non venite il mio diletto. Do not come to disturb my delight. O come par che all'amoroso foco Oh, how it seems that to amorous fires L'amenita del loco, The comfort of the place, La terra e il ciel risponda. Earth and heaven respond, Come la notte i furti miei risponda As the night responds to my ruses. Aria – An emotion expressing song in an opera; the big number! Cadenza – A moment near the end of an aria for the singer alone (no accomp), lots of fast, high, difficult notes. The show-off moment! Finale – The last song of an act, often involving a large group of singers. Finale Ultimo – The final finale, often involving a really large group of singers. Bel Canto – italian for “beautiful singing”. A style of opera in which the beauty of the voice is more important than the words or story. Emphasizes breath control, beautiful tone and great dynamics. Opera Buffa – Funny opera, especially from the 18 th century. Opera Seria – Formal, serious opera from the 18 th century. Singspiel – German for “sing-play”. A German opera with spoken dialogue (instead of recitative) between arias.

6 Opera History…the short version! 1600’s –Operas are written about Greek Mythology (1/2 recit with musical interludes) –Florentine Camerata – how can we make this better? Madrigals make text hard to understand Important words will be recit style so audiences can understand –Roles were written for male and female voices Women not allowed on stage – solution: castrati These men were idolized Today those are operas are done by women or men in a lower key

7 Opera History…the short version! 1700’s and 1800’s –People are bored! The music becomes more important. –Introduction of the ARIA –2 main types of operas were written during this time: Opera Seria –Stately, formal – written for royalty –Stand in position for arias –People come and go during the performance –Very politically correct Opera Buffa –For the common people! Funny! –Tricky for composers – funny usually means timing, emphasis on certain words and quick witted. –Short musical phrases, quick snippets of melody, voices were used for humor

8 What about now? Operas have not changed a lot – most operas are still in recitative/aria form. Music through the years has been composed in different styles – too much info for today! Primary opera composers came from Italy, Germany, Austria, Russia and England. What about the United States?

9 What about the US? We were about 100 years too late! Even today, majority of operas performed are from the 1700s and 1800s. Modern day opera composers have never compared to Mozart, Handel, Puccini, Verdi, etc. US more successful with musicals Barber, Copland and Gershwin wrote the most popular American Opera.

10 Rules for attending an Opera Don’t be late! Don’t exit until intermission. Be quiet! (Overture included!) Read the plot summaries Be prepared – they are long acts Applause – no whistles! Bravo! Brava! No longer formal dress – dress nice (no jeans). No cell phonesQUESTIONS???

11 Quando me'n vò Quando me'n vò Opera: La Boheme (first performed in 1896) Composer: Giocomo Puccini Quando me'n vò Quando me'n vò soletta per la via, La gente sosta e mira E la bellezza mia tutta ricerca in me, ricerca in me Da capo a pie'... Ed assaporo allor la bramosia sottil che da gl'occhi traspira e dai palesi vezzi intender sa Alle occulte beltà. Cosi l’effluvio del desio tutta m'aggira, felice mi fa, felice me fa! E tu che sai, che memori e ti struggi Da me tanto rifuggi? So ben: le angoscie tue non le vuoi dir, non le vuoi dir so ben Ma ti senti morir! When I walk When I walk alone in the street People stop and stare at me And everyone looks at my beauty, Looks at me, From head to foot... And then I relish the sly yearning which escapes from their eyes and which is able to perceive my most hidden beauties. Thus the scent of desire is all around me, and it makes me happy, makes me happy! And you who know, who remember and yearn you shrink from me? I know it very well: you do not want to express your anguish, but you feel as if you are dying!


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