(Dis)embodying Myths in Ancien Régime Opera
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Leuven University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Music Examples and Illustrations
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Recent decades have seen a remarkable upsurge of interest in what was long declared the “dark ages”1 of opera: the massive repertoire composed between Claudio Monteverdi’s demise (1643) and Christoph Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (1762). Numerous Baroque operas are currently being rediscovered, recorded, and (re)staged, ...
Lo scherno degli dei: Myth and derision in the dramma per musica of the seventeenth century
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At its creation, near the close of the sixteenth century, opera maintained a narrow and privileged relationship with the realm of mythology. The theory of operatic practice, which was sparked by the experiments of Bardi’s Camerata and aimed at reviving the ideal of Greek tragedy (whether or not sung in its entirety), ...
Helpings from the great banquets of epic: Handel’s Teseo and Arianna in Creta
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The myths that Baroque opera embodied on stage were not abstract, slightly mystical stories transmitted orally from a dim past, nor were they static, codified equivalents of scripture. Early modern Europe had inherited the artistic and self-conscious mythography of Greco-Roman literature mutated by translations, ...
Envoicing the divine: Oracles in lyric and spoken drama in seventeenth-century France
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Despite growing rationalist scepticism regarding the supernatural, divine revelations were not completely renounced in seventeenth-century French drama. The mingling of supernatural and mortal characters was justified to some extent by the favored setting in the mythical world of pagan Greece and Rome, but the dependence on gods was still treated judiciously: ...
Addressing the divine: The ‘numinous’ accompagnato in opera seria
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More than any other art, music has the deep-seated ability to evoke the aura of mystery required for theatrical representations of the mythical. When, for instance, Ferruccio Busoni wondered at what particular moments music was truly “indispensable” on the stage, his conclusion read: “During dances, marches, songs, and – at the appearance of the supernatural in the action.”1 ...
Iphigenia’s curious ménage à trois in myth, drama, and opera
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The desire to assimilate or equate opera and myth seems unstoppable today. We feel that opera and myth have much in common, not only when operas take their plots from classical mythology – such as Orpheus, Ulysses, Iphigenia, or Hypermnestra – but also when the ‘metaphysical’ potential of the genre itself is being invoked. ...
Spectatorship and involvementin Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride
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In an intriguing scene in Dangerous liaisons (1988), Stephen Frears’ superb film version of Christopher Hampton’s homonymous play, Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride is performed at the Paris Opéra. From her box, the wicked Marquise de Merteuil (played by Glenn Close) surveys the public with her binoculars. ...
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Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2012