2 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 musicRESOLUTION:Supertitles to the rescue! (in the 1980s)LibrettosPlot Summaries
4 What type of voice am I hearing? SopranoTypically the highest paid singer – also the most commonMost sympathetic roles & sing the highest notesTypes: Coloratura, Lyric, Soubrette, DramaticMezzo Soprano (Habanera from Carmen by Bizet)Mezzo means “half”Usually play tramps, vamps, witches, trouser rolesContraltoLowest female voice typePortrays maids, mothers, grandmothersTenor (Rodolfo’s Aria from La Boheme by Puccini)Compete most with sopranos in pay checksHighest-singing male voiceUsually 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 maleUsually 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 allSing the lowest notes the human voice can reachUsually play priests, kings, fathers or the devilWhat makes them different than pop or musical theatre singers???(Size of voice, orchestra, no mics, age)
5 Opera TerminologyLibretto/Librettist – the script of an opera/the person that wrote the scriptMusical Score/Composer – the music of an opera/the person that wrote the musicRecitative – Speech-singing, the singer semi-chants the words – imitating the free rhythms of speechGiunse alfin il momento The moment finally arrivesChe godro senz'affanno When I'll enjoy [experience joy] without hasteIn 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 firesL'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 18th century.Opera Seria – Formal, serious opera from the 18th century.Singspiel – German for “sing-play”. A German opera with spoken dialogue (instead of recitative) between arias.
6 Opera History…the short version! 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 understandImportant words will be recit style so audiences can understandRoles were written for male and female voicesWomen not allowed on stage – solution: castratiThese men were idolizedToday those are operas are done by women or men in a lower key
7 Opera History…the short version! 1700’s and 1800’sPeople are bored! The music becomes more important.Introduction of the ARIA2 main types of operas were written during this time:Opera SeriaStately, formal – written for royaltyStand in position for ariasPeople come and go during the performanceVery politically correctOpera BuffaFor 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 musicalsBarber, 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 summariesBe prepared – they are long actsApplause – no whistles! Bravo! Brava!No longer formal dress – dress nice (no jeans).No cell phonesQUESTIONS???
11 Quando me'n vò Opera: La Boheme (first performed in 1896) Composer: Giocomo Puccini Quando me'n vò soletta per la via,La gente sosta e miraE la bellezza mia tutta ricerca in me,ricerca in meDa capo a pie' ...Ed assaporo allor la bramosiasottil che da gl'occhi traspirae dai palesi vezzi intender saAlle occulte beltà.Cosi l’effluvio del desio tutta m'aggira,felice mi fa, felice me fa!E tu che sai, che memori e ti struggiDa me tanto rifuggi?So ben:le angoscie tue non le vuoi dir,non le vuoi dir so benMa ti senti morir!When I walkWhen I walk alone in the streetPeople stop and stare at meAnd everyone looks at my beauty,Looks at me,From head to foot...And then I relish the sly yearningwhich escapes from their eyesand which is able to perceivemy 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 yearnyou shrink from me?I know it very well:you do not want to express your anguish,but you feel as if you are dying!