5Introduction to opera - La Boheme A staged drama that is predominantly sung, most often with orchestral accompanimentOrigins of operaBegan in Italy around 1600Earliest operas were stories based on ancient mythsMusic followed the natural rhythms and pitch inflections of the wordsArias:Songs for a solo singerRecitativeSung conversation between characters to help advance the story line
618th Century Opera Opera seria A serious form of opera with lofty heroic themes from history and mythologyDominated the 18th centuryMeant to showcase the singerOpera buffaComic operaImportance of orchestra increasedDramatic aspect sufferedMore worldly and accessibleFocus on the storyMarriage of Figaro by Mozart – prime example
7Opera in the 19th century World wide Verismo A style of Italian opera with realistic portrayals of everyday lifeGiacomo Puccini ( ) romanticized this styleItalian composerWas expected to be a church musicianA performance of Verdi’s Aida inspired him to pursue operaComposed some of the most popular operas of all timeWrote La Boheme, Tosca, and Madama ButterflyKnown for long gorgeous melodies and rich harmonics that show passionate emotions
8La Boheme Considered, “the greatest love story ever sung” The libretto was by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi IllicaThe text of an opera or musical including dialogue and lyricsOpened in Turin Italy in 1896Was not respected by critics at firstIt is based on a novel by Henri Murger titled Scenes from a Bohemian LifeBohemianDerived from the colorful life-style of a carefree people who once roamed Central EuropeA metaphor for the lifestyle of romantic, young, and usually poor artistic types
9The story Activity 3, p. 325 CD 9:20 (TRB 14-4) Activity 2, p. 323 CD 9:19, lyrics p. 324“Che gelida manina” – sung by RodolfoHow would you describe the melodic contour of this theme?Do you think this melody would be easy or difficult to sing? Why?Why do you think this melody has become so memorable?Activity 3, p. 325 CD 9:20 (TRB 14-4)“Quando m’en vo” (“Musetta’s Waltz”) – sung by MusettaFermataThe sustaining of a pitchHow does the use of these tempo devices enable Musetta to express her flirtatious mood?How many times did you hear the famous opening melody of “Musetta’s Waltz”?What can you tell about Musetta’s character from the music and the singer’s performance
10The story - continued Activity 5, p. 328 CD 10:1 lyrics, p. 328 “Donde lieta” – sung by MimiMake a list of the musical characteristics that help convey Mimi’s despair and sadness. Divide your list into three categories”The Orchestra – how does it convey the mood? What role does the accompaniment play in giving the aria unity?The Melody – what characteristics make it a love songThe Singing – how does Mimi express her love for Rodolfo in the way she sings?Activity 5, p. 328 CD 10:1 lyrics, p. 328“Sono Andatti” - duet by Mimi and RodolfoPathosThe feeling of sympathetic pity or compassion for a character
11Rent – Celebrating Bohemia a century later From opera to rock musicalJonathan Larson updated the story of La Boehme to the present day and titled the musical RentThe fatal disease was changed from tuberculosis to AIDSThe setting was changed to New York CityYoung bohemians – filmmaker, dancer, scholar, and actorSame issues – disease, death, loss, poverty, homelessness, and a quest for the meaning of liveVerismo and pathos are still evidentWon four Tony awards plus the Pulitzer Prize for DramaLarson died of a heart attack before the show opened
12La Boheme & Rent La Boheme Rent Character Profession Song(s) Rodolfo Poet“Che gelida manina”MarcelloPainterCollinePhliosopherMimiFalls in love with Rodolfo, Dies of consumptionMusettaMarcello’s ex-girlfriend“Quando me’n fo”CharacterProfessionSong(s)RogerSong writer“One Song Glory”Markfilmmaker“Rent”CollinsTeacher“Sante Fe”MimiFalls in love with Roger, Dies of AIDSMaureenMark’s ex-girlfriendAngelStreet musician
13The story Activity 6, p. 331 CD 10:2 sung by Mark, Roger, and Collins “Rent”Activity 7, p. 332 CD 10:3 sung by Roger, lyrics p. 333“One Song Glory”What word functions as a musical “hook” to support the emotional and musical unity in the song?On which lines of text is the dynamic level the loudest?Which line of text is sung in the highest part of the voice register?Which lines of text are sung with the greatest intensity and drive?Why do you think the composer made that decision?How does it serve to heighten the emotion?
14The story - continued Activity 8, p. 334 CD 10:4 “Sante Fe” – sung by CollinsIs the ostinato pattern present throughout the song?What is the effect of the repeated patterns on the organization of the song? Describe the effect of speaking and singing the text.Why is this song classified as rock style?Activity 9, p. 335 CD 10:5“Seasons of Love” – sung by the castWould you describe this piece as a slow or fast 4/4 time?Does it lend itself to clapping on the offbeats?What other musical characteristics make this song “gospel” in style?
15Daphne Rubin-Vega b. 1969Born in Panama and moved to New York as a childSang in the girl group Pajama PartyPlayed the role of Mimi in the original production of RentBroadway debutWon the theater World AwardNominated for a Tony and Drama Desk for best actress in a musical
16Assignment – Activity 10, p. 337 How is Rent similar to La Boheme? Summarize the similarities in the characters, relationships, plot, and environmentHow is Rent different from La Boheme? Summarize the differences in setting, style of singing, accompaniment, and use of voices.Within the context of their time and style, are both composers equally powerful and immediate in the way they develop empathy and pathos for their characters? Why or why not?How does familiarity with one of these works help a person appreciate the other one?
17Meet the MusicianNadie Sierra singing “O Mio Babbino Caro”
18Review - terms Arias Libretto Opera Opera buffa Opera seria Songs for a solo singer and orchestraLibrettoThe text of an opera or musical, including dialogue and lyricsOperaA staged drama that is sung, most often with orchestral accompanimentOpera buffaComic operaOpera seriaA serious form of opera with lofty heroic themes from history and mythology
19More terms Pathos Recitative Verismo Opus The feeling of sympathetic pity or compassion for a characterRecitativeSung conversation between characters to help advance the story lineVerismoA style of Italian opera with realistic portrayals of everyday lifeOpusWork of art – plural is opera
20Performed the role of Mimi in Rent Music and speechEarly opera:music followed the natural rhythms and pitch inflections of the words19th centuryFocused more on the musicJonathan LarsonLyricist and composer of RentDied of a heart attack before the show openedPerformed the role of Mimi in RentDaphne Rubin-Vega19th century Italian composer of La BohemeGiacomo PucciniExample of opera buffaMarriage of Figaro by MozartOpera plotsEarly opera:myths and legends19th centuryFocused more on real life - verismoAwards for RentFour Tony awardsPulitzer Prize for DramaLa Boheme – critics’ reactionIt was not praised by critics when first performed
21La Boheme & Rent La Boheme Rent Character Profession Song(s) Rodolfo Poet“Che gelida manina”MarcelloPainterCollinePhliosopherMimiFalls in love with Rodolfo, Dies of consumptionMusettaMarcello’s ex-girlfriend“Quando me’n fo”CharacterProfessionSong(s)RogerSong writer“One Song Glory”Markfilmmaker“Rent”CollinsTeacher“Sante Fe”MimiFalls in love with Roger, Dies of AIDSMaureenMark’s ex-girlfriendAngelStreet musician
22Describe the ways Jonathan Larson updated La Boheme in his musical Rent Changed the settingFrom Paris to New York CityChanged the time19th century to end of 20th centurystyle of musicClassical to contemporary rockCharacter namesBoth used pathos
23What musical devices were used in La Boheme and Rent to express emotions? Dynamic contrastRubatoFermataRepetition of melodiesRentDynamicsVocal registerMusical hooks