Opera the Arousing of Emotions

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Doctrine of Affections (affetti)

"An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my lifelong after I've left the opera house."

Maria Callas (1923 - 1977) quoted those words; and even though, I am not an opera performer, I do relate to this prodigious musical form. Her words lividly describe the strong feelings produced by opera.

From antiquity, humanity has sung and played instruments. Music has a variety of meanings for each one of us. It is the universal language, after 'love'. It is said that, music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.

Opera (opus = work) is a drama set to music and made up of a 'Cantata' (vocal pieces) staged in a theater with costumes, scenery, and with orchestral:

  • accompaniment (music played to support the person singing or the instrument played).
  • overtures (music played at the beginning)
  • interludes (period of time between events, it may be a music or an act; designed as bridging)

When the opera is sung totally alone without accompaniment the Italian term used is 'a capella' (in chapel style).

Orchestra instrument position

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Opera masks

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Phantom of the Opera
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Phantom of the Opera
Phantom of the Opera

Italian melody

Opera's origin

Since opera's origin (remote to the world of the ancient Greece and Rome) it became the most complex of art forms. This is why it truly arise emotions because of all the artistic creations found in its performance.

A large repertoire of opera grew based on events recorded in the Bible or derived from Christian traditions. Influence from the ancient world were the:

  • Greek and Romans tragedy
  • Ancient rhetoric
  • Plato and Aristotle's work

European and Western opera are the mixture of:

  • Italian melody
  • French dance
  • German intellect and technique

Art in opera

The Fruit Machine (a painting & an opera)
The Fruit Machine (a painting & an opera) | Source
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Opera highest of all arts

Opera has received the colors and cultural flavoring of other countries. Opera is the sum and the summit of all arts offering an exotic and irrational characteristic, which makes it expensive.

How can it not arouse emotions? The Greek and Roman rhetorical theory and practice should aim affetti, the so called Doctrine of affection. This doctrine is the reason of why the performances should express and create a state of feelings in the listener, such as:

  • joy
  • sadness
  • anger
  • sorrow
  • Kindness
  • love
  • etc.

The arts put together are:

  • painting
  • poetry
  • drama
  • dance
  • music

China Peking Opera Art Festival

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Chinese Opera

The three oldest dramatic art forms in the world are:

  • Chinese Opera - Today, over 300 impressive regional opera style.
  • Greece Tragic-comedy
  • Indian Sanskrit

Chinese opera formerly based on old tales of heroes and supernatural. Today with great historic events of the recent past.

Forms of opera

Ballad Opera
Ballet-Heroique
Burletta
Comedies-Ballet
English musical and dramatic entertainment that offers a play, usually comic.
French genre that involved heroic figures.
Light English opera, and in Italy a comic opera
French Baroque makes use of spoken dialogue, song and dance.
Lyric Drama
Farsa
Grand Opera
Marchenoper
French form that dealt seriously enough with characters.
Shorter form of comic opera, popular in Venice.
A French five act work, using grandiose effects on a large scale.
German fairy tale opera.
Masque
Melodrama
Number Opera
Opera - Ballet
A court entertainment in England.
Makes use of spoken words, accompanied by or framed by music.
Made up of distinct and separate sections, complete in themselves.
French opera combining elements of opera and ballet in a work that might or might not be unified by plot.
Pasticcio
Sacred
Vaudeville
Zarzuela
French opera that makes use of arias (separate song) and other musical elements.
Religious subject.
French song or theatrical entertainment often satirical intention.
Spanish form dramatic and musical using song, dance and Spanish composers.

Continental Opera Houses

show route and directions
A markerGezira Island, Cairo, Egypt -
Gezira Island, Al Agouzah, Giza, Egypt
[get directions]

B markerSydney NSW 2000, Australia -
Sydney NSW, Australia
[get directions]

C markerCape Town, South Africa -
Cape Town, South Africa
[get directions]

D markerBeijing-China -
Beijing, China
[get directions]

E markerHanoi, Paris -
Paris, France
[get directions]

F markerNew York -
New York, NY, USA
[get directions]

G markerBrazil -
Brazil
[get directions]

China National Grand Theater

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Brazil Opera House

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Cape Town Opera

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Cairo Opera House

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Paris Opera House

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New York Opera House

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Sydney Opera House

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Five most important opera composers

Composer
Birth & death
Composition
Claudio Monteverdi
1567 - 1643
The first major opera in 1607
Johann Sebastian
1685 - 1750
Wrote church and instrumental.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
1756 - 91
Composed many operas and concertos
Ludwig van Beethoven
1770 - 1827
Wrote symphonies and chamber music.
Richard Wagner
1813 - 83
Created grand operas on mythological subjects.

Greatest Female Opera Singers

The Best Male Opera Singers

Opera singers

Listen to opera letting your imagination fly, as you do, live the words you listen from the singer. This is a sophisticated piece of art that will make your whole being comprise with it.

There are six types of opera singers according to their voices, which within each of them you will find differences by individual characteristics.

From highest to lowest, the three female voices are:

  1. soprano
  2. mezzo-soprano
  3. contralto

The male voices are:

  1. tenor
  2. baritone
  3. bass

Conclusion

Let everything that has breath do as in Psalm 150

Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!


Blessings to all!


© Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill

© 2014 Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill

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Comments 10 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I confess that I have never been to the opera, but I have no doubt that it is a remarkable experience. So good to see you writing more, Maria. Carry on my friend, and blessings to you always.

bill


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Lovely, just a lovely article. I really do like Bocelli. Operas could be shorter for my standards. Our local looks like it will shut down.

Nice to read from you.


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 2 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

A very well one hub Maggie. Great job Hon, voting up across the board.


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 2 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

Thanks Billy, I don't know how can you write, comment and still encourage in one day.

I know that not everybody may assist to an opera, but I hear it even from the radio when I cannot have my iPod handy.

Thanks for the push!


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 2 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

Thanks Eric!

Andrea Bocelli is definitely great. The length of an opera keeps me awake when I drive at night. Sad to know that your local looks like it will shut down. When I made my search, I saw few nice opera places in California.


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 2 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

Frogg213 thank you very much for such warm encouragement.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Thanks for this historical and cultural lesson on operas and opera singers. I learn many interesting facts. Thanks also for the pictures of the opera houses. They are awesome.


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 2 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

MsDora thanks to you for reading and leaving such lovely comment. I love opera and I wanted to share about it. Be well!


Angel L Feliciano 2 years ago

Maria,

I am an opera Singer and based in New York City I am very impressed with your article and actually nailed it . Makes me believe that you were or are an Opera singer yourself because you couldn't said it better . It start way before the curtains goes up and ends long after it goes down. I sing from my heart and express from my feelings always respecting and transmitting to the audience what the composer wrote and is my job to do that as an artist. Maria I am speechless with your creative and heart feeling for what I am passionate for.

Keep up the great work.

Angel


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 20 months ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

Mr. Feliciano I love music and I am not an opera singer...only when I'm taking a bath. Thanks for reading and sharing who you are.

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