Pinterest By the beginning of the 18th century Venice had found a new occupation; she had become the pleasure capital of Europe, the Las Vegas of her time. Here the gambling was for higher stakes, the courtesans more skilful and obliging, than anywhere else on the continent.
This event ultimately removed opera from the exclusive patronage of royalty and nobility and placed it within reach of all but the poorest sectors of the Italian urban population. By the end of the century, Venice had nine such commercial theatres, a Vivaldi and venetian opera of them devoted to opera.
Although the theatres did not all operate simultaneously, they nevertheless attracted, and indeed competed for, domestic and international audiences.
Thus began a trend during the midth century in favour of plots with more sensational subjects that included elements of intrigue, disguise, and deception and that demanded elaborate machinery.
The commercialization of opera also led to an increase in the influence of singers; the rise to prominence of castrati men who had been castrated before puberty in order to preserve the high range and purity of their boyish voices, now strengthened by their fully mature chests ; and a concomitant emphasis on arias over recitative.
A pupil of Monteverdi, Francesco Cavallibecame the most popular opera composer of his era by furnishing the opera houses of Venice with more than two dozen operas between and Cavalli infused the librettos he set to music with dramatic force and directness.
The expensive publication of opera scores ceased once the genre became established and aristocratic patronage was discontinued. Most operas lasted only one season, after which they were replaced by newly commissioned works.
Only since the late 20th century have some of these operas, especially those of Cavalli, been recovered and revived. Venetian operas were extravagant affairs in which the improbable plots—a mixture of comic and serious elements—unfolded in simple recitative, and the arias took on a new, lyrical idiom.
Arias were usually cast in strophic form stanzas sung to the same music and flowing triple metre beats in groups of threeand some had repetitive bass patterns ostinatos or ground basses that prolonged the expressive high points of the plot.
Venetian composers developed distinctive styles and forms for the many solo arias and duets and paid little attention to the choruswhich had played a more prominent role in Florentine court productions and continued to be important to their Roman contemporaries.
The resulting separation between recitative and aria and the concomitant focus on solo singers became characteristic features of opera for the next years.
Moreover, the number of arias in an opera gradually increased—from about 24 in the midth century to more than 60 by Thus, the Florentine and Monteverdian view of the music of an opera as inseparable from its poetry and drama was soon reversed by the tastes and wishes of the paying Venetian audiences, who relished the visual elements of sets and costumes, took greater pleasure in musical elaboration than in compelling dramatic structure, and provided an atmosphere in which rivalries flourished between opera companies and among their highly paid star singers.
Development of operatic styles in other Italian cities Several other Italian cities soon developed recognizable operatic styles in the 17th century.
In Romewhere wealthy prelates became ardent sponsors of opera, librettists expanded the range of subjects to include legends of saints.
Most of the Roman composers of the time, such as Stefano Landi, Domenico Mazzocchi, Luigi Rossi, and Michelangelo Rossi, followed the Florentine tradition by including vocal ensembles and choral finales with dancing for each act. They diverged from the Florentine style by increasing the contrast between the arias and the recitatives, allowing the arias to interrupt dramatic continuityand rendering the recitatives more speechlike and less interesting musically.
They also used comic episodes to lighten prevailingly tragic stories as did the Venetians and introduced instrumental overtures and overture-like pieces preceding acts or sections of acts. The opera was successfully revived in the late 20th century, with a new breed of highly trained, virtuosic countertenors taking the roles originally intended for castrati.
By Naples rivaled Venice as a centre of Italian opera, largely due to the works and influence of Alessandro Scarlattiwho had made his reputation in Rome.
Scarlatti wrote at least 32 of his 66 operas for San Bartolomeo between andbefore the War of the Spanish Succession —14 caused him to return to Rome.
He continued to write operas for Rome, Florenceand Venice, before returning to Naples in There, however, the style of his operas was by then beginning to be outmoded. A Neoclassical movement in opera, originating in Venice in the late 17th century, had begun to purge libretti of comic scenes and characters and to demand simpler plots, based on the tragedies of the French playwrights Pierre Corneille and Jean Racinewhich used elevated language and upheld the Classical ideal of unity of time, place, and action, which required that the libretto have a single plot taking place in one day and within a single place or setting.
These values were reflected in a type of opera known as an opera seria plural: The form consisted of a pithy, rhymed poem, the main idea of which was captured by one or two characteristic musical motives that were expanded into an elaborate solo full of music and text repetitions framed by instrumental ritornelli.
Scarlatti imbued his arias with unusual quality and depth and provided them with rich and varied instrumentation. This generation often collaborated with the dramatic poet Pietro Trapassi, known as Metastasio —perhaps the greatest of the 18th-century librettists, whose works were set by some composers until well into the 19th century.
Continuing the custom of basing librettos on Greco-Roman legend and pseudohistory, with plots revolving around the likes of DidoAlexander the Greatand Titus rather than mythological heroes, Metastasio and his Venetian predecessor Apostolo Zeno wrote texts of formal beauty and linguistic clarity, preferring solemn, usually tragic subjects opera seria in three acts to comic episodes and characters.
The term Neapolitan operain addition to its association with opera seria, also came to indicate a light ingratiating style, sometimes called gallant, which was based on the foregrounding of graceful vocal melodies, presented in symmetrical, balanced phrases. These melodies were set against a simpler accompaniment that was free of the driving rhythms of earlier arias of the Baroque periodcorresponding roughly to the 17th and early 18th centuries and that supported rather than competed with the voice.
Many of the qualities that became associated with the so-called Viennese Classic style of the 18th century—especially the instrumental music of Joseph HaydnWolfgang Amadeus Mozartand Ludwig van Beethoven —had their origins in the tuneful vocal style of Neapolitan opera.
By Italian opera, sometimes in translation, had arrived in some European cities and towns, from Copenhagen to Madrid and from London to Moscow. The basic elements of recitative and aria, occasional ensembles, and choruses were retained up to the present day, although their proportions in relation to one another varied.
In the 18th century, Italian opera was truly an international medium and the only vehicle through which a successful composer could achieve fame and fortune. Expelled from the precincts of opera seria, especially by the librettos of Apostolo Zeno and Metastasio, the comic spirit had taken refuge in such an expanded intermezzo as La serva padrona ; The Maid Mistressby the Neapolitan composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.
From the early, tentative efforts of several 17th-century Roman and Florentine composers, then, comic opera eventually acquired a bustling, rude, independent vitality of its own, often with a satirical bent.
Because opera buffa was free of the traditions that weighed so heavily on opera seria, it became fertile ground for musical and dramatic innovation. It dispensed almost entirely with the magnificent display and grandeur of staging increasingly required of opera seria and concentrated instead on the more realistic situations of ordinary people who sang, as in serious opera, in recitatives and arias.
One of the prominent traits of this mixed genre was the elaboration of fast-paced ensemble numbers at the conclusion of acts.Venice - the city that created opera In the early 18th century, Venice, a city of some , inhabitants, boasted seven full-time opera houses.
John Julius Norwich looks at the Italian city's. Venetian composers in the latter half of the century included Antonio Sartorio and Giovanni Legrenzi and in the early 18th century Antonio Vivaldi, who composed 49 operas for Venice and other cities; many of Vivaldi’s operas are now lost.
The reason why it was eventually postponed by the officials was the public safety and the fact that mean people were using masks as disguise in order to take revenge on their enemies at that particular time. 1 The form of Venetian opera was evoked by the baroque aesthetics: it demanded richness of impressions, diversity, contrasts, surprises.
Aug 28, · The Orchestra Virtuosi di Venezia-Orchestra da camera di San Marco had been formed in under the inspiration of Vivaldi's work. We are currently in Venice and trying to decide whether to go to the Vivaldi and Opera concert or the Vivaldi's Four Seasons concert.
We have a 12yo and a 10yo with us. Also wondering what is the 5/5(K). Opera in Venice: Check out 14 reviews and photos of Viator's Virtuosi di Venezia: Vivaldi and Opera5/5(13).
Antonio Vivaldi was a virtuoso violinist, a virtuoso composer – at least in terms of quantity – and a virtuoso teacher, as clearly evidenced by the level of competence attained by his pupils. A Venetian all his life, travelling but always returning, Vivaldi epitomizes Italian Baroque Music like no other composer.