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18th Century

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William McCrary

on 24 August 2015

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Transcript of 18th Century

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

George Frederic Handel

Acis and Galatea - 1718
La Serva Padrona -1733
General Characteristics
of Opera Seria
Dominated by the Castrati and Divas
Succession of recitative/aria/recitative
dominated by the da capo aria form
a - b - a'
a' = improvised ornamentation
Recitative - secco and accompanied
small ensembles - duets, trios
very little chorus - usually saved for the end of the act
comedy stricken from plots
based on "Unities of Aristotle"
unity of action, place, and time
could be inserted into intermezzo
very little use of Bass Voice
Dominated by Metastasian librettos
27 set over 1000 times
Characters and plots historical in nature
General Characteristics of
Opera Buffa
Small ensembles
ensemble singing develops in this form
trios, quartets, sextets, etc.
Bass role included
Very few Castrati roles - unnatural
Generally sung by less polished singers
secco recitative (spoken dialogue in French, German and English equivalents)
Chorus not typical but no "rules" stating use of
Typical plot could make fun of Opera Seria but usually dealt with lower middle class issues
This grew to middle class citizens taking on the upper or noble class
Christoph Willibald Gluck

no da capo arias
little or no opportunity for vocal improvisation or virtuosic displays of vocal agility or power
no long melismas
a more predominantly syllabic setting of the text to make the words more intelligible
far less repetition of text within an aria
a blurring of the distinction between recitative and aria, declamatory and lyrical passages, with altogether less recitative
accompanied rather than secco recitative
simpler, more flowing melodic lines
an overture that is linked by theme or mood to the ensuing action
more prominence for the chorus, giving it, in imitation of classical Greek drama, an important role commenting on the events unfolding on the stage.

Alceste also has no role for the castrato voice, although Gluck would return to using a castrato in his next opera, Paride ed Elena, and even rewrite the tenor role of Admetus for the soprano castrato Giuseppe Millico, in the 1770 revival of Alceste in Vienna.

Gluck Reforms as outlined in
Orfeo ed Euridice
Full transcript