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Florentine Camerata, Early Opera, Castrati, and 19th Century Opera

The history of opera from 1600 (the Baroque period) to 1800's.
by

Keith Amaro

on 23 March 2011

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Transcript of Florentine Camerata, Early Opera, Castrati, and 19th Century Opera

Florentine Camerata, Early Opera, Castrati, and Early 19th Century Opera Florentine Camerata Name is derived from Caccini’s score for L’Euridice, which dedicated the work to Count Bardi Also known as “Camerata de’ Bardi” Met at January 14, 1573 Early Renaissance – Florence ~1570 - 1590 Gathered by Giovanni de’ Bardi and met at his house Eureka! Group of humanists, musicians, poets, and intellectuals Talked about and guided trends in the arts – music and drama especially Frequent members include Giulio Caccini and Vincenzo Galilei (who is the father of Galileo, famous astronomer) Girolamo Mei also heavily participated during 1572 – 1578 Unified because they believed that music had become corrupt, so they returned to the forms and styles of ancient Greeks o Art of music could be improved = society improved Musical experiments led to stile rapressentativo; “dramatic style” o Influenced by Girolamo Mei, who is an ancient Greek scholar
 - Greek drama was spoken rather than sung
o Emilio de’ Cavalieri first to employ it
 - Few pastoral scenes
o Caccini published collection of short pieces – 1602
 - Le nuove musiche (the new music) o Linked with development of opera – linked to longer dramatic works Dafne by Jacopo Peri inspired by Camerata de’ Bardi – unfortunately lost for centuries Rejected the complex polyphony of the late Renaissance Made early musical style called monody o Applied specifically to Italian songs of the early 17th century
o Simple solo melody with a basic accompaniment
o Led to the idea of chords Jacopo Corsi made similar group in 1592 when Bardi left Florence O_o Early Opera First opera to have survived until present day – L’Euridice – Jacopo Peri
First operatic masterpiece – L’Orfeo – Claudio Monteverdi o Composed for the court of Mantua – 1607
o Librettist Alessandr Striggio wrote libretto
o Greek myth of Orpheus
o Used a large orchestra – 40 instruments
o Laid down important foundation for musical theatre First of the Florentine operas – Dafne – performed 1594 or 1598 (unsure)
Limited to court audiences
1637 – idea of “season” emerged o Publicly attending operas supported by tickets Baroque era o 1600 – 1750
o After Renaissance, before Classical
o Barrocco – “misshapen pearl” Opera used to only be in Italy o Can only be afforded by wealthy aristocrats and guests First opera performed outside of Italy – La liberazone di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (Ruggiero’s Liberation from the Island of Alcina) – Francesca Caccini – 1628 o Written in 1625 to honour Prince Wladislaw of Poland First public opera house – 1637 in Venice o Between 1637 – 1700, 388 operas performed in Venice
o Venetians (50, 000 in number) support six opera troupes continuously Turn of the 18th C, opera houses common as movie theatres today
Venice looked for ways to keep costs down o Reducing cast to 6 or 8 singers
o Orchestras grew smaller
o Economy spent on machinery (Venetians LOVED elaborate scene effects e.g. clouds transporting singers, storms created on stage) Mid-seventeenth-century operas took on particular functions of story
Other opera facts: o Prima uomo – leading man – usually played by castrati
o Prima donna – leading woman
o Castrati was well-known and used in operas Castrati Produced by castrating boys before they reached puberty o No sexual characteristics
o Retain high voices of childhood but with adult strength Were operated on because of parents who needed money o Must show aptitude for music or signs of potential fine voice Compared to English children sold to be chimney sweeps (Heriot 38)
Span same range as adult woman’s voice o Settling into soprano or alto range 200 years in great demand o Many opera roles for castrati 15 – 20 years old – ready to make debut o Seen first in a woman’s role Have psychological problems oSexually
oBullied in school by other students
oVoice did not match expectations
Banned in 1903 – goes against teachings of church o Pope Pius X
o Forbade women singers in chapels so used castrati Alternatives now: o Cast women
o Countertenor – uses falsetto voice
o Rewrite part for tenor GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! As common as... ? =
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