Opera through the ages

Published by Baroque Singers on

The very first musical theater work that we could define as an opera today was Jacopo Peri’s Dafne, written in the late 1590 s. Little of Peri’s score survives so Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo of 1607 takes the crown as the first work which you’re able to hear. Both these composers were working in Italy, and it was an Italian opera that could dominate what’s known as the Baroque period ranging from about 1600 to the 1740 s. This form of stunt came to the fore in rich courts across Europe, royalty patrons of composers, however it became a form of art That appealed to all courses, George Friedrich Handel’s work, for instance, wildly popular in England.

Classical Opera

From the mid Willibald Christoph Gluck took the opera in new directions, enlarging structure, harmony and stories far from the extremely formalised types which dominated in the previous 150 years. He also made the orchestra more essential by developing recitativo accompagnato, recitative supported by a full orchestra rather than continuo. A few of the Significant opera composers have been Gluck, Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Romantic Opera

Romantic opera has dominated operatic phases for the better part of two centuries. Emerging around the turn of the nineteenth century, Romanticism was the predominant literary and artistic movement till the first World War.

As a movement it’s not easily defined however it was born out from The French Revolution and Germany’s Sturm und Drang playing greatly towards strong emotions and also a revolt against the scientific compliance of enlightenment and lately the industrial revolution. Opera became steadily larger and more dramatic, vast choruses and a swelled orchestra, to upwards of 100 players, building towards the immense operatic works of Richard Wagner.

There are too many composers to mention here, but Germany was dominated by Wagner, Italy by initial Giuseppe Verdi and after that Giacomo Puccini and Russia made its first real operatic effect with Mikhail Glinka and after that Modest Mussorgsky and Pyotr Tchaikovsky amongst others.

20th Century Opera

Few were writing new works, but the old ones dominated the modern stage. It has not were all doom and gloom for fans of new music however, with complex modern music making its way on the operatic phases although sporadically and rarely popularly. Composers became more inventive with the scoring, often utilizing fewer actors orchestrated and creating more intimate dramas comparative at the bombast of the Romantic period.

The very first 50% of the century was dominated by the modernists especially Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg who developed atonal and after that twelve tone techniques. Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich came to the fore during the middle years of the twentieth Century, Britten particularly probably the most successful opera composer born after 1900. Minimalism came in full throttle from the 70s, Philip Glass and most lately John Adams the most successful composers in recent times.

Categories: music