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Opera the Arousing of Emotions
Holland's Got Talent
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."
(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. Maria Callas
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
Opera masksClick thumbnail to view full-size
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
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:
The arts put together are:
China Peking Opera Art Festival
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
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.
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.
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.
French opera that makes use of arias (separate song) and other musical elements.
French song or theatrical entertainment often satirical intention.
Spanish form dramatic and musical using song, dance and Spanish composers.
Continental Opera Houses
China National Grand Theater
Brazil Opera House
Cape Town Opera
Cairo Opera House
Paris Opera House
New York Opera House
Sydney Opera House
Five most important opera composers
Birth & death
1567 - 1643
The first major opera in 1607
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.
1813 - 83
Created grand operas on mythological subjects.
Greatest Female Opera Singers
The Best Male 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:
The male voices are:
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