By Burton D Fisher
A complete historical past of opera that strains each one milestone in opera background from Monteverdi to Gluck to Weber via to fashionable occasions and Glass and Heggie. All sessions are broadly analyzed: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Bel Canto, Opera Buffa, German Romanticism, Wagner and song drama, Verismo, plus analyses of the Tristan Chord, atonalism, minimalism, et al.
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Extra resources for A History of Opera: Milestones and Metamorphoses (Opera Classics Library Series)
Mozart died before its premiere, and one is tempted to speculate how Mozart would have darkened that episode with his music had he attacked an opera on the subject. M ozart’s The Marriage of Figaro antedates Rossini’s The Barber of Seville by thirty years. Rossini’s work essentially owes its provenance to another opera based on Beaumarchais: Paisello’s Barbiere di Siviglia (1780). But it was Rossini’s admiration for Mozart’s Marriage that strongly persuaded him to create his Barber opera, a work now acclaimed as the greatest opera buffa ever written, as well as the perfect companion piece to Mozart’s Marriage.
Nevertheless, it is that spotlight on the individual that makes Mozart’s characterizations a bridge between eighteenth and nineteenth century operas. Before Mozart, in the opera seria genre, operas portrayed abstract emotion; often, the dramatic form imitated the style of the ancient Greek theater in which an individual’s passions and the dramatic situations would generally transfer to the chorus for either narration, commentary, or summation. But Mozart was anticipating the transition to the Romantic movement that was to begin soon after his death.
Mozart’s musical style and the music of the late eighteenth century Classical era are virtually synonymous. The goal of Classical era music was to conform to specific standards and forms, to be succinct, clear, and well balanced, but at the same time, to develop musical ideas to an emotionally satisfying fullness. As a quintessential Classicist, Mozart’s music has become universally extolled; his music represents an outpouring of memorable graceful melody that is combined with formal, contrapuntal ingenuity.