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Article

Harold Rosenthal

, accompanied by a piano. By the 1966–7 season there were three Opera for All groups, each comprising 12 members; one was based at the London Opera Centre, one at Scottish Opera and one at the WNO. The increased touring commitments of the last two companies, and expanded touring by the English Opera Group and Phoenix Opera, resulted in the two regional groups being absorbed into the larger Scottish and Welsh companies as small touring ensembles with chamber orchestra. The London-based group retained the original name. Although works like La Cenerentola , Le comte

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Sitzprobe ( Ger.: ‘seat-rehearsal’ ) Term used in opera houses, in virtually all countries, for what is normally the first rehearsal of an opera with orchestra, during which the singers remain seated on the stage; this, undertaken when the singers have learnt their parts, is intended to show them how their own music fits into the total musical texture as supplied by the orchestra and the other singers without the distraction of acting. See Rehearsal §2, (i) .

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

plot of an opera or drama. The origins of the opera programme lie in the libretto and the playbill, and the dividing line between playbill and programme is hazy. Research into the history of the programme is still at a preliminary stage. From the 17th century, most opera audiences had access during a performance to a copy of the printed libretto, which was usually available for purchase in the theatre (or sometimes given free to subscribers). In many countries, until the late 19th century, a new edition of the libretto was customarily published for each opera production;

Article

Graham Dixon and Richard Taruskin

minority. Viennese oratorios belonging to the category of Jesuit drama increasingly developed in the direction of opera: the best-known example, Pia et fortis mulier ( 1677 ) by J. K. Kerll, includes all the elements of contemporary Venetian opera, as well as spoken sections. (For a fuller discussion, see Jesuit drama .) A further use of operatic procedures in a sacred context in Vienna is seen in the Sepolcro (opera) . The Jesuits were quick to see opera as an educational tool, and the Barberini family in Rome were only slightly slower in realizing its potential

Article

Roger Pines

These performances resulted in Glyndebourne adopting them in October 1984 for their Touring Opera productions of Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro and later for their festival staging of Kát’a Kabanová . Covent Gardenhas used surtitles regularly since January 1986 when they were introduced in a new production of Jenůfa ;all performances of operas in a foreign language are now surtitled there, and they have been used to accompany Birtwistle’s English-language opera, Gawain . In 1986 , the German producer Michael Hampe took them to the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

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thought too long to be performed complete. Pergolesi’s La serva padrona , originally composed as a pair of intermezzos for performance in a serious opera, is also a favourite for inclusion in double bills. A historic example is the performance of Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and Salieri’s Prima la musica, dopo le parole in 1786 at opposite ends of the orangery at Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna; in the interval all the chairs were turned round.

Article

Casting  

Harewood

with members of the wartime Sadler’s Wells company in mind and a year after its première founded the English Opera Group, whose hand-picked personnel, mutatis mutandis , provided basic casting for his operas over the next 30 years. In all this time, in every one of his 13 operas after Peter Grimes , the prodigious and individual talents of Peter Pears governed Britten’s writing for tenor voice, something which has presented problems to anyone casting the operas and to many later interpreters unable to cope either with the low-lying tessitura which came easily to Pears

Article

Brian Large

bring the atmosphere of the crowds and the unusual location to the viewers; at Verona, for instance, he may choose initially to establish the setting, showing the Roman ruins and the audience of 26000 people before zooming in to the operatic action itself. In Bayreuth, where all of Wagner’s operas have been videotaped, the standard production practice has been adapted. Because only a limited number of performances take place in the Festspielhaus each year, the music dramas can be recorded in the rehearsal weeks preceding the festival, in a closed house. By turning the

Article

John Spitzer, Neal Zaslaw and Michael Kennedy

first half of the 20th century conductors played a dominant role in opera houses – choosing which operas to perform, selecting singers and controlling all aspects of the production, musical and dramatic. Arturo Toscanini was famous for keeping his singers under tight control; Herbert von Karajan and Erich Kleiber often directed the operas they conducted. The shift after World War II from repertory companies to companies that change casts for each production significantly altered the role of the opera conductor. Like leading singers and directors, conductors have become

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Season  

John Rosselli and Richard Macnutt

religious faith among the educated in the late 18th century , as much as the increasing demand for opera, may explain why governments came to allow staged performances of ‘sacred dramas’ (operas on biblical subjects) in Lent. Such permission was given in Munich as early as 1734 . Prague followed suit in 1749 , but Maria Theresa tried to hold the line; she allowed some relaxation from 1772 , and after her death her sons Joseph II and Leopold II opened up Lent, all but Holy Week (Austrian lands, 1788 ; Tuscany, 1791 ); so did Naples in 1787 . The real problem in

Article

Costume  

Sidney Jackson Jowers

Fame, with great wings and hair streaming (like gossip) in the wind, holds the traditional trumpet and an olive branch. Her robe is wrought all over with eyes. Buonarroti declared that Caccini’s opera could confidently be compared to the spectacles of ancient Rome (see Nagler, 96–100). Princes financed their court operas for invited guests. When in 1637 in Venice opera was first organized as a commercial venture, open to all who could afford to pay, the costumes were apparently no less splendid; according to the description for the first such entertainment, Francesco

Article

Roger Savage, Barry Millington and John Cox

organization and supervision of all this – has rarely drawn much attention to itself, at least not until the coming of ‘director’s opera’ in the later 20th century. A consequence has been the assumption that, before the advent of the modern director (or producer), opera was not ‘properly’ produced at all; which is untrue. Rather, production styles have changed along with operatic styles, and a director of the late 20th-century type has not always been considered a sine qua non of the process. Indeed, responsibility for the production of opera has been taken by remarkably

Article

Revival  

Harry Haskell

New York and in England by the Cambridge University Musical Society and the Oxford University Opera Club. Westrup’s editions of Orfeo and L’incoronazione di Poppea , first heard in Oxford, set new standards of scholarly fidelity, as did Dent’s widely used version of Dido and Aeneas . Yet the period also produced a spate of freely modernized editions of Baroque operas by composers such as Krenek, Respighi and Orff. The latter’s adaptation of Orfeo was perhaps freest of all: the allegorical figures were eliminated, a narrator was introduced to relate the Orpheus story

Article

John Rosselli, Thomas Bauman, Barry Millington, David Charlton, Curtis Price and John Cox

or all of these elements can be brought to bear in a single production. Imbuing a mixed body of people numbering anything up to 150 with a strong personal commitment to the piece, an understanding of its manifold demands and a reactive alertness to all that happens around them on stage almost invariably requires more rehearsal than it gets. This problem is compounded in that any chorus in an international opera house will be singing in – and reacting to – anything up to six languages besides its own in a season, and may be performing up to four different operas in

Article

John Rosselli

boxes. Under the impact of revolution (in 1789 and again in 1830 ) they came to apply tests of commercial rationality rather than of status. The Paris Opéra in 1831 brought in numbered seats in the stalls area; it cut down the free list, as La Scala, Milan, had already done in 1789 . Their example was gradually followed by other opera houses, which also turned some boxes into open seating areas. By the 1880s the all-seated stalls area, filled with chairs with arm rests, was the rule, and the Italian ingresso entitled one to no more than (restricted) standing room

Article

Arthur Jacobs

of ‘reading’ (non-singing) versions chiefly answered the demands of record-buyers listening to complete operas in the original language. Many translations issued with such recordings cultivated an extreme literalism, subjugating all other considerations to the goal of enabling the listener to follow a foreign text almost word for word. The present article is concerned with translation not for reading but for performance. 2. History. The earliest operas listed by Loewenberg as being performed in a foreign-language translation within or near the lifetime of

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del Conservatorio di Musica ‘Giuseppe Verdi’, via Conservatorio 12, 20122 Milan ( Mc ). The library has legal-deposit status for the Milan area. Opera holdings include MSS of all operas written for La Scala and the Teatro Cannobiana from 1816 to 1856 , along with a collection of Hasse MSS. The Fondo Noseda contains Italian opera MSS (18th and 19th centuries), and there is a collection of about 6000 librettos for operas produced in Milan from the 17th century to the 19th. Autograph MSS include works by Cimarosa, Paisiello and Cherubini. Milan

Article

Benefit  

Richard Macnutt

compensating them for low salaries. The first opera known to have been associated with a benefit was Daniel Purcell and Jeremiah Clarke’s The World in the Moon , which was performed on 1 July 1697 ‘for the benefit of the Undertaker’ (i.e. the company’s owner, Christopher Rich). The first charity benefit of which we have a record was advertised in 1698 . Elsewhere in Europe the benefit system was slow to become established. The earliest recorded benefit in France was given in 1735 for the actress Mlle Gaussin who had lost all her possessions in a fire; but it was not

Article

John Rosselli, Sarah Roberts and Hilary Finch

expensive festivals such as Salzburg, drawn from the richest parts of Europe, still visibly show off wealth and power. Evening dress, not compulsory but, as at Glyndebourne, recommended, adds to the general expectancy: after all the trouble they have taken, many in the audience seem determined to enjoy themselves, not necessarily thanks to the opera; some, as at Bayreuth first nights, like to boo. Henze at Montepulciano has tried to innovate by enlisting the local population in a continuous ‘workshop’, but that may be feasible only in a compact small town. Elsewhere,