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Chapter 13: Other Classical Genres Opera Buffa. Key Terms Opera buffa Ensemble Duet.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 13: Other Classical Genres Opera Buffa. Key Terms Opera buffa Ensemble Duet."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 13: Other Classical Genres Opera Buffa

2 Key Terms Opera buffa Ensemble Duet

3 Opera Buffa Comic opera now equaled serious opera in importance Peasants & soldiers replaced emperors & courtiers Comic basses replaced heroic castrati Flexible Classical style perfectly suited to casual, swift, lifelike effects of comedy Italian opera buffa was popular throughout Europe It influenced growth of French, German, & English comic operas

4 Seria vs. Buffa (1) Story from ancient history or mythology Featured ancient heroes & nobility Used recitatives & arias Often in 3-4 acts Long operas Pacing was slow, drawn out Serious, tragic Contemporary subjects used Ordinary middle- & lower-class folk Used ensembles, recitatives, & arias Often in 2-3 acts Shorter operas Quicker, livelier, more lifelike Light, comic

5 Seria vs. Buffa (2) At its best— Gripping, profound drama Powerful emotional expression Timelessness of myth At its worst— Far-fetched plots Exaggerated emotion No continuity At its best— Fast-paced, nonstop entertainment Pointed social commentary Realistic story & characters At its worst— Trivial plots & music Comic situations not believable

6 The Ensemble (1) Ensemble = a fully musical number sung by two or more soloists Serious opera alternated between— Recitative – for dialogue and action Aria – for meditation on one emotion; singer steps out of the action to reflect Ensembles can depict dialogue, action, & emotions simultaneously Can depict emotions of two or more characters at the same time – & their changing reactions!

7 The Ensemble (2) Ensembles often in several sections Each with different tempos, keys, & themes Contrasts allowed greater expressive range Aria was static; ensemble was dynamic Opera seria da capo aria ended where it started Comic ensemble moved the drama & music ahead several notches Ensemble’s continuous forward momentum transformed opera buffa Opera became a much more dramatic genre

8 Mozart, Don Giovanni One of Mozart’s greatest opera’s Written for Prague in 1787 Technically an opera buffa, but— Also an example of dramma giocoso Neither wholly comic nor wholly tragic Enigmatic mixture of both – a “dark comedy” Mixture happens musically, dramatically, & character by character

9 Characters Serious roles Donna Anna & Don Ottavio, a noble couple The Commandant, Donna Anna’s father Comic roles Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant Zerlina & Masetto, a peasant couple Mixed roles (both serious & comic) Don Giovanni (Italian for Don Juan), the legendary Spanish libertine Donna Elvira, a noblewoman loved & left by Don Giovanni

10 Plot (1) Don Giovanni’s bawdy escapades belong to opera buffa More serious is his compulsive pursuit He promises women anything, but leaves when he gets his way (Donna Elvira) He kills the father of a victim (Donna Anna) He attempts to seduce a peasant (Zerlina) as she celebrates her betrothal to Masetto He blasphemes God & the dead (Commandant) He defies rules of society, morality, & God, even when it means his doom

11 Plot (2) In the graveyard the Commandant’s statue reproaches Giovanni for his blasphemy Don Giovanni invites the statue to dinner As Don Giovanni dines, the statue arrives Giovanni refuses to mend his ways The statue drags him down to hell We sympathize both with his punishment and with his verve & bravery We also feel ambivalent about the others The other characters both amuse & move us

12 Act I, scene iii (Note aristocrat vs. peasant distinctions) Scene begins with a chorus of peasants They celebrate the betrothal of Masetto & Zerlina Don Giovanni arrives with Leporello He decides to seduce Zerlina He asks Leporello to keep Masetto occupied Masetto immediately senses trouble He confronts Don Giovanni Don Giovanni threatens him with his sword

13 Mozart, “Ho capito” (1) Mozart uses this aria to define Masetto’s character Short, repeated phrases & frequent strong cadences depict his simple yet direct nature & his sputtering anger

14 Mozart, “Ho capito” (2) But this aria is not static - we see Masetto interacting with several characters He is nearly insolent in telling Don Giovanni what an unjust bully he is He is abrupt in putting off Leporello In his jealousy he becomes progressively more furious & sarcastic with Zerlina

15 Mozart, “Alfin siam liberati” Secco recitative with continuo only Dialogue between Don Giovanni & Zerlina With Masetto out of the way, Don Giovanni begins his seduction She worries about betraying her promise to marry Masetto Giovanni tells her she was not meant to be a peasant & flatters her for her beauty She fears Giovanni’s intentions are not good He promises to marry her immediately

16 Mozart, “Là ci darem la mano” (1) Ensemble for Don Giovanni & Zerlina One of Mozart’s best known tunes Simple & direct – apt for wooing a peasant

17 Mozart, “Là ci darem la mano” (2) Don Giovanni becomes ever more impassioned & persuasive Zerlina’s resistance gradually breaks down Dialogue alternates more & more rapidly Final section in rhythmic unison & quicker Depicts their agreement & eagerness

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