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Article

Marita P. McClymonds

Paisiello. This libretto enjoyed more Italian productions than any other of Verazi’s librettos for Germany: Giacomo Rust ( 1776 , Padua), Mysliveček ( 1778 , Naples; 1779 , Pisa), Felice Alessandri ( 1778 , Milan) and Sebastiano Nasolini ( 1792 , Florence). All show extensive revision. Mysliveček’s is an ‘aria’ opera with a duet closing Act 2, and retains only the battle scene in Act 3. Rust’s and Nasolini’s versions retain the sinfonia- introduzione and the concluding action finale. Alessandri and Rust move the ‘death’ trio from Act 3 to the end of Act 2. The Florentine

Article

Tim Carter, Graham Sadler, Peter Branscombe, Roger Savage and Arnold McMillin

Goethe’s Singspiel librettos, for all their lyric excellence, failed to inspire a single setting of true distinction (apart, that is, from individual lieder based on lyrics included in the librettos, such as ‘Ein Veilchen’, ‘Es war ein Buhle frech genung’ and ‘Wer reitet so spät’). Indeed, with the exception of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, German opera has largely lacked poetic eminence. The clumsy but effective verse of the Fidelio libretto, the texts of Weber’s last two German operas, and the texts that Schubert strove to turn in operas, are symptomatic of the obstacles

Article

Don Neville

the chorus into the opera at Naples with revivals of this opera and Olimpiade in 1742–3 . At the time that Jommelli went to Venice to prepare his 1749 setting of the text, Metastasio wrote to Farinelli that he found in Jommelli’s work ‘all the harmony of Hasse, with all the grace, expression and invention of Vinci’. Two years later, after seeing sections of Hasse’s score for Dresden ( 1751 ), and hearing reports about the work, the poet expressed his admiration for Hasse’s ability always to surpass his previous efforts. It was in this opera of Hasse that his wife

Article

Paul Corneilson

in some productions the ancient Egyptian setting has inspired exotic scenery and spectacle. Almost all end with the death of Cleopatra; in this respect the subject stands firmly in the tradition of operas with tragic heroines, such as Dido and Ariadne. See also Antony and Cleopatra [Barber]; Cleopatra [Mattheson]; and Cleopatra [Anfossi]. For a list of operas based on Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra , see Shakespeare, William (opera) .

Article

Don Neville

trilogy, but of this work, only the first play, The Suppliant Women , remains. Prior to Metastasio’s drama, Théodore de Gombauld’s Les Danaïdes ( 1644 ), Gaspard Abeille’s Lyncée ( 1678 ) and Théodore de Riupeirous’ Hypermnestre ( 1704 ) were all based upon this story, as were Giovanni Moniglia’s libretto for Cavalli’s opera Hipermestra ( 1658 , Florence) and Antonio Salvi’s text for Giacomelli’s Ipermestra ( 1724 , Venice). Of the contemporary sources, however, Metastasio’s plot has its closest parallels with Joseph de Lafont’s livret for Charles-Hubert Gervais’

Article

Faust  

F.W. Sternfeld

any final redemption: Mephistopheles drags Faust to hell, a conclusion reminiscent of the folk legend. The opera, with its clever motivic work, is not without its merits, as Weber noted in a perceptive essay of 1816 . Gounod’s Faust ( 1859 ) was originally conceived, for the Théâtre Lyrique, with spoken dialogue; when it was transferred to the Opéra it was fitted with recitatives and a ballet, in which form it became the most popular of all Faust operas. It has been much criticized (notably by Wagner and Debussy) but sections have won praise (notably from Berlioz)

Article

virtù had been a model for Metastasio’s first opera libretto, Siface , in 1723 . Late in 1753 , Metastasio reluctantly began work on a shortened version for Carlo Broschi (Farinelli), in Madrid, but he eventually expressed satisfaction at the resultant increase in movement, interest and intensity. In popularity, Alessandro nell’Indie was to hold second place only to Artaserse , with which it initially shared the same carnival season in Rome, both operas in settings by Vinci. For Hasse, this was his first opera for Dresden (as Cleofide , 1731 ), for Luigi Gatti

Article

Don Neville

harassment of his daughter, Hypsipyle. When Hypsipyle vows to murder her father to satisfy Eurynome, she secretly plans to warn him not to land, but is too late. Thoas is surprised at his daughter’s cool public greeting, but she explains all privately when she bids him hide in the sacred grove of the goddess Diana. Act 2 Unknown to all, Learchus has returned with a band of pirates and, unrecognized, tells Thoas to flee the grove for his daughter’s sake. Masquerading as Thoas, Learchus plans to seize Hypsipyle and leave Lemnos. Meanwhile, Hypsipyle sacrifices another

Article

Dale E. Monson

by Terradellas, 1746 , London) and Sografi (as La morte di Mitridate , set by Nasolini, 1796 , Trieste). See also Mitridate, re di Ponto (‘Mithridates, King of Pontus’) [Mozart] and Mitridate Eupatore [A. Scarlatti]. For a list of operas based on Racine’s Mithridate , see Racine, Jean (opera) .

Article

Don Neville

Sacchini. For Madrid ( 1751 ), Conforto set Le cinese , an early azione teatrale by Metastasio, under the title La festa cinese ; this, with versions of Siroe ( 1752 ) and L’eroe cinese ( 1754 ), secured him an appointment to compose operas for the Spanish court. For a list of settings see Metastasio [Trapassi], Pietro (opera) .

Article

Tim Carter

‘the imperious Manner in which Love insinuates its Impressions into the Hearts of Persons of all Ranks; and likewise how a wise Man should be ever ready with his best Endeavours to re-conduct into the right Way, those who have been misguided from it by the Illusion of their Passions’. See also Medoro [Lucio]; Orlando [Vivaldi]; Orlando [Handel]; Orlando paladino [Haydn]; Roland [Lully]; and Roland [Piccinni]. For a list of operas based on Ariosto’ s Orlando furioso see Ludovico Ariosto .

Article

Galuppi’s most successful serious opera ( 1747 , Milan) and as Myslivec̆ek’s finest dramatic work ( 1778 , Naples). Sacchini’s setting for Padua ( 1763 ) also proved popular, and Weber was to praise Poissl’s rendition of 1815 when it was revived in Dresden in 1820 . Vivaldi’s L’olimpiade ( 1734 , Venice) provides one of several examples of his use of obbligato instruments (in this case, a horn); revivals of Leo’s setting and that of his Ciro riconosciuto are credited with introducing the chorus to Naples in 1742–3 ; and Cimarosa’s opera ( 1784 Vicenza) contains his

Article

Don Neville

), Cato’s death is simply reported, and all that remains of the acquedotti antichi of the secret pathway scene is the entrance, to which a fountain of Isis and its surrounding trees create a visual diversion. Metastasio clearly regarded both versions of this drama as authentic, although most composers preferred the revision. In a setting by Giovanni Ferrandini, Catone in Utica opened the Cuvilliés theatre in Munich in 1753 , and for J. C. Bach his setting for Naples ( 1761 ) was to become his most widely performed opera. For a list of settings see Metastasio

Article

Dale E. Monson

Epirus where he is king, and of her bearing his son, Molossus. Pyrrhus later deserts her for Helen’s daughter, Hermione, but Orestes, consumed with jealousy for Hermione, kills him. Andromache marries Helenus, Hector’s brother. Two famous dramas on this epic preceded the several opera librettos of the 18th century: the Andromache of Euripides and Jean Racine ’s Andromaque ( 1667 ), both of which addressed the stormy and wanton actions of Pyrrhus, although to different ends. Racine’s play set the tone for operatic productions, establishing variations that

Article

Bryan Martin

but she is discovered by the Neapolitan impresario Colagianni; after much scheming on both sides, Lamberto prevails. Frank Walker (‘Orazio: the History of a Pasticcio’, MQ , xxxviii, 1952 , pp.369–83) recorded 21 revivals of Orazio , all over Europe, for the period 1740–58 . Auletta’s music slowly disappeared as the opera travelled, six numbers surviving with some consistency. Additions included numbers by Pergolesi, Jommelli, Leo, Alessandro Maccari, Michele Fini and others. The subplot involving Lamberto, Colagianni and Lauretta was presented separately as

Article

Don Neville

paired during the 1760s, and in 1770 , Gabrielli sang with Gasparo Pacchierotti in a pasticcio version at Palermo. Giovanni Carestini, Farinelli and Senesino were all to play Alcestes, and to this list can be added Venanzio Rauzzini, Alcestes for the première of Bernasconi’s setting ( 1772 , Munich). Bianchi’s setting ( 1774 , rev. 1780 ) includes an early example of an action-ensemble finale in a senous opera. For a list of settings see Metastasio [Trapassi], Pietro .

Article

Uttini ( 1755 , Drottningholm) it inspired his only Italian opera score to be printed, and for Maria Agnesi, it prompted her only Metastasian opera. The sisters Caterina and Francesca Gabrielli sang the roles of Elisa and Tamyris in the Vienna première of Gluck’s setting, which coincided with the birth of the Archduke Maximilian Franz on 8 December 1756 . The archduke’s visit to Salzburg in 1775 was, in turn, honoured by Mozart’s setting of a curtailed version of the text. Mozart had probably seen the opera in Giardini’s setting in London in 1765 , the year after

Article

Marita P. McClymonds

solo with chorus. The opera also includes an aria with choral interpolations, then a novel construction. In the same year a revised version of Prati’s setting was given in Venice, the matricide still intact; Emperor Leopold II, Archduke of Tuscany at the time of the Florence première in 1786 , chose Prati’s opera to initiate his efforts to re-establish opera seria in Vienna. Simeone Sografi’s libretto for Sebastiano Nasolini, La morte di Semiramide ( 1790 , Padua), also set by G. B. Borghi ( 1791 , Milan), was one of several ‘la morte’ operas of the period. It tempers

Article

Patrick O’Connor

Mahagonny (the score of which contains Brecht’s detailed stage directions which themselves amount to a production book) all hark back to the first stagings of the works. Since the rise of the conception of the director as interpreter, wishing to stage operas according to his or her own view of their meaning, the role of the published production book has diminished. Since very little detailed, descriptive dramatic criticism exists for many early operas, such sets of instructions, where they survive, are invaluable for giving an idea of how the creators of a work envisaged

Article

practices with which Metastasio had to contend. Although clearly aware of the foibles of contemporary serious opera and its performance at this the outset of his career, Metastasio was to achieve certain reforms while working from within the genre itself, not as an overt antagonist. His letters reveal lifelong complaints about the mistreatment of his librettos by composers, singers and theatre directors. There appear to be six settings of L’impresario delle Canarie , all written between 1724 and 1744 , the most popular being Leo’s ( 1741 ). As this was one of four written