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Article

John Rosselli

‘cute’ without inquiring into their conditions of work. A special case are the children’s companies, mainly Italian, which between about 1790 and 1920 performed operas with all the parts sung by pre-pubertal children. Teacher-impresarios took on the children of poor families for whom even modest opera earnings outstripped what they could have got in other jobs. The companies performed mainly comic operas, but one at least put on Rigoletto and Lucia di Lammermoor . They toured successfully in Italy and the Americas, running their seasons like any other company except

Article

Unities  

Roger Savage

which are apparently within walking – and ferrying – distance of each other. Still, the librettos of early opera came quite quickly to be written by dramatists who were influenced by the more freely-formed Spanish drama à la Lope de Vega or by a Baroque reaction against all ‘mechanical’ rules. Precepts were read but then locked away with six keys, in Lope’s phrase. By the 1640s the prefaces to Venetian operas are making the point insistently: ‘this opera is … not made according to the prescriptions of the ancient rules; in accord with Spanish usage it represents

Article

S Giovanni Grisostomo Theatre in Venice, built by the Grimani in 1678 . The largest and most exclusive opera house in the city, it was renamed after Malibran in 1834 , then used for all kinds of popular entertainment; it was restructured in 1919 but soon became a cinema. See Venice (opera) §3 and Venice (opera) §8 .

Article

Edward A. Langhans

comes to the opera at all, might be expected to be happier entering by a side door and climbing an ordinary stairway to the top gallery, where he will be too far from the splendour below to be intimidated by it. The stage and backstage areas of the opera houses are also similar to those of other theatres, but there are important differences, and not only in size. Opera companies almost invariably work in repertory (a different opera every day) and their theatre must be capable of handling multiple stage settings for several operas at once. Ideally, an opera house should

Article

John Rockwell

years. ‘Rock operas’ grew out of ‘concept albums’, LPs with a theme, in the mid-1960s, and hence are really closer to the song cycles of classical tradition than to opera. Nearly all the first examples were British, reflecting the greater tendency on the part of art-school-educated British rockers to aspire to high art in their emulations of the American vernacular. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is often adduced as the first important concept album. It was released in 1967 , the year that seemed to mark the emergence of the ‘rock opera’ in several

Article

Wilfrid Mellers, Walter Wells and Madeleine Ladell

performed on Broadway, Regina is the only ‘jazz opera’, save Porgy , to work efficaciously in a legitimate opera house. Nodding references to jazz may be found in Antheil’s Transatlantic (composed 1927–8 ), Copland’s The Second Hurricane ( 1937 ), Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts ( 1934 ) and The Mother of Us All ( 1947 ) and various operas by Menotti, but perhaps Blitzstein’s most direct musical heir was Leonard Bernstein, a classically trained musician steeped in popular music. His amusing one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti ( 1952 ) features a trio

Article

Manfred Boetzkes, Evan Baker and Nicholas John

itself became an instrument of state. Up to the latter part of the 19th century, the Opéra was granted by the government a large budget to create and achieve grand scenic effects particularly for the operas of Meyerbeer and Halévy. The results, with their subsequent popularity, served to propagate the glory and stability of the French state. The production style of French grand opera achieved international dissemination; its influence on stage design was to be found above all where opera was a vehicle for political ideas: in pre- 1848 Germany (Wagner’s Rienzi ), Italy

Article

Edward A. Langhans

by David Syrus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to E. A. Langhans, 26 October 1989 ) is for the prompter, working from a vocal score, to give all cues to all singers (unless they do not want to be prompted). From his box he can see the singers, and through one or more mirrors or, better still, a television monitor, he has a view of the conductor. Depending on the volume of the music, the prompter can speak loudly or softly. Ideally, the audience will be unaware of him, though his voice may be picked up by microphones if the opera is being broadcast or televised

Article

Ticket  

Richard Macnutt

numbered, it may not have been until somewhat later (the 1830s at the latest) that specific seats outside the boxes could be reserved. At the Opéra the benches in the stalls were not numbered until 1831 , and a slightly higher price was thereafter paid for tickets purchased in advance than for those bought on the night – a convention that applied to many of the major Parisian theatres, certainly in the 1850s. At Her Majesty’s all seats except those in the stalls were numbered by the mid-1840s, while at Covent Garden numbering began probably in 1858 . In addition to

Article

Edward A. Langhans and Robert E. Benson

identical in construction and purpose with those that had been built to accommodate candles, oil lamps or gas jets, and ranks of battens (pipes) with strip lights above the stage provided general illumination. When opera was given in repertory it saved time, effort and money to have a general lighting set-up that provided full stage illumination for virtually all productions. The new dimmer boards allowed for whatever light changes might be required. For centuries scenery had been used in a similar way: stock stage settings – street, palace, forest, seashore, mountain etc

Article

G. J. Cederquist

Theater, Signature Theater, Hartford Stage, and the Stratford Festival (Canada) (where he directed West Side Story , Evita and Camelot ). Other Chicago credits include work with Court Theater, Northlight Theater, The Marriott Theater, Drury Lane Oakbrook and, more recently, Lyric Opera of Chicago ( The Merry Widow and The Mikado ) and Writers’ Theater ( The Detective’s Wife ).

Article

M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet and Thomas Bauman

and celebrated Louis XIV’s marriage. Collasse and M.-A. Charpentier were among the composers of Jesuit stage works. Occasionally from 1684 onwards, true operas (with coherent plots) were performed, still following the intermède pattern of intercalation. Thus, Charpentier’s David et Jonathas ( 1688 ) was given with Chamillart’s Latin tragedy Saül . Later, Campra contributed to numerous Jesuit works, but all the music appears to be lost. Indeed the French tradition was lost with the suppression of Jesuit colleges and their expulsion from the kingdom ( 1761–2 )

Article

fundamental lyricism that runs through all his works. Early examples used the limited vocal range of the pop song (‘Close ev’ry door’, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat ), but he gradually adopted a wider melodic range, in Cats drawing on the upper extremes of both the musical theatre ‘belt voice’ in ‘Memory’ and the vernacular ballad singer in ‘The Ballad of Billy McCaw’. With Phantom of the Opera he used a more expansive lyricism suited to the operatic setting, as in the wide melodic leaps of the romantic duet ‘All I Ask of You’, the Puccini-influenced