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  • Die Opera seria bei Joseph Haydn: Studien zu Form und Struktur musikalischer Affektdramaturgie und Figurentypologisierung in Armida und L’anima del filosofo ossia Orfeo ed Euridice
  • Caryl Clark
Die Opera seria bei Joseph Haydn: Studien zu Form und Struktur musikalischer Affektdramaturgie und Figurentypologisierung in Armida und L’anima del filosofo ossia Orfeo ed Euridice. By Bernhard Waritschlager. (Musikwissenschaftliche Schriften der Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, Bd. 2.) Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 2005. [226 p. ISBN 3-7952-1192-1. €52.] Music examples, indexes, bibliography.

Based on the author's 2005 dissertation from the University of Munich, this book concentrates on Haydn's last two operas—the dramma eroicoArmida from 1783–84, his final work for the Esterházy stage, and the dramma per musicaL'anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice written for London in 1791 but never performed in the composer's lifetime. (Discussed only briefly is L'isola disabitata, the two-act azione teatrale from 1779 on a libretto by Pietro Metastasio, which is not yet available in the Joseph Haydn Werke, and the fragmentary Acide from 1763 (revised 1774) written before the composer's musical and dramatic potential was fully realized.) As such, this book fills in an analytical hole left by other detailed studies of the composer's operas, although its outdated methodology gives one pause.

Simply put, each of the four earlier dissertations briefly cited by the author adopts a slightly different configuration for the study of the operas: Mary Hunter analyzes the sonata form structure of Haydn's buffa and seria arias in her 1982 dissertation ("Haydn's Aria Forms: A Study of the Arias in the Italian Operas Written at Esterháza, 1766–1783" [Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1982]) but stops short of considering L'anima del filosofo since it was conceived in a different time and place for a paying public audience far from Eszterháza; my own dissertation from 1991 ("The opera buffa finales of Joseph Haydn" [Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1991]) concentrates on the buffo finales, with no reference to works in the seria tradition that eschew this musico-dramatic construct; Patricia Debly's 1993 dissertation ("Joseph Haydn and the dramma giocoso" [Ph.D. diss., University of Victoria, 1993]) examines Haydn's works in the dramma giocoso tradition only; and Rebecca's Green's 1995 dissertation ("Power and Patriarchy in Haydn's Goldoni Operas" [Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, 1995]) provides a close socio-contextual reading of three works on librettos by the mid-eighteenth-century Venetian social satirist Carlo Goldoni. To summarize, Haydn's operas in the seria tradition have been under-represented in previous studies, preparing the way for Waritschlager's debut as an interpreter of the composer's late seria style.

Waritschlager's thesis is a simple one: basically, Haydn's musical dramaturgy sprang from the principles of his instrumental music (p. 12). Anyone familiar with traditional opera analysis of an earlier generation, inextricably rooted in formalism, will recognize that this is hardly an original idea. How Haydn, that masterful manipulator of motivic material, structural innovator, musical jokester, employer of Empfindsam expressiveness, and transgressor of the normative managed to place his personal stamp on almost every instrumental genre of his day is only part of the story; still little understood and under appreciated is the extent to which these same features permeate his music for the theater. Indeed, the mentors in whose footsteps Waritschlager finds himself treading—most notably Thrasybulos Georgiades and Charles Rosen, whom he quotes at length —built their legendary musicological careers on exploring the fundamental relationship between form, language, and style, especially in the music of the Viennese classical tradition. For Georgiadis, who was formulating his ideas about text and music during the mid-twentieth century when he held a professorship at Waritschlager's alma mater, the demands of a dramatic text led to the creation of new kinds of flexible phrasing in opera buffa, especially Mozartean comic opera, and became the model for other comparisons. Seria arias, normally understood as corresponding to the Affekt of the text, which dictates the musical topos, are treated differently by Haydn ... or so Waritschlager argues in the phenomenological method he...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-150X
Print ISSN
0027-4380
Pages
pp. 352-353
Launched on MUSE
2006-11-06
Open Access
No
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