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Renaissance (1400-1600). Renaissance (1400-1600) Renaissance Who’s Who. Writers - Shakespeare & Cervantes Math/Science - Galileo, Copernicus Explorers – Columbus, da Gama Artists - Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael Monarchs – Henry VIII, Elizabeth I

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Renaissance (1400-1600)

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renaissance 1400 1600 renaissance who s who
Renaissance (1400-1600)Renaissance Who’s Who
  • Writers - Shakespeare & Cervantes
  • Math/Science - Galileo, Copernicus
  • Explorers – Columbus, da Gama
  • Artists - Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael
  • Monarchs – Henry VIII, Elizabeth I
  • Music (secular) - Monteverdi
monteverdi 1567 1643
Monteverdi (1567-1643)
  • Italian Renaissance composer
  • Composed secular music
  • Famous for his madrigals
  • Renaissance secular song
  • Originated in Italy
  • For voices, with and without accompaniment
  • Set to a short love poem
  • Very emotional
  • Monteverdi was most famous composer in Italy
  • Madrigals also became popular in England
monteverdi the madrigal
Monteverdi & the Madrigal
  • Monteverdi: Italian Renaissance Composer
  • Madrigal:
    • Renaissance secular song originating in Italy for voices, sometimes with accompaniment, sometimes without; set to a short love poem; also popular in England
  • Example: A un giro sol
    • Renaissance
    • Italian
    • madrigal
    • by Monteverdi
    • word painting (the music depicts the words being sung)
    • very emotional
baroque highlights
  • Opera is Born
  • Masque in England
  • Names to Remember
    • Composers
      • Purcell
      • Handel
    • Monarchs
      • Louis XIV (France)
  • Representative governments
    • Begin replacing monarchs in N. Europe
    • Off-and-on in England
    • A result of the growing middle class
opera masque
Opera & Masque
  • Masque: an English performance similar to a variety show
    • with singing, dancing, poetry and music
    • performed for nobility
  • Opera: music drama sung throughout
    • combines vocal and instrumental music with poetry and drama, acting and pantomime, scenery and costumes
    • subject matter from history or mythology
    • performed for nobility
opera elements
Opera Elements
  • Libretto: the text/script of the opera written by a librettist who works closely with the composer
  • Overture: instrumental introduction to the opera; often contains main themes used in the opera
  • Recitative: a sort of sung speech which moves the plot along
  • Aria: the beautiful solo songs in the opera; they stop the motion/plot and reflect on moments of great emotion
  • Ensembles: duet (2), trio (3), quartet (4), quintet (5), sextet (6), chorus
opera dido and aeneas
Opera - Dido and Aeneas
  • Dido’s Lament
    • Example of recitative and aria
    • Purcell is composer
    • Ostinato (repeated descending bass)
    • Subject from Greek mythology and adapted by Roman poet, Virgil
  • With drooping wings ye cupids come
    • Example of opera chorus
    • Purcell is composer
    • Chorus acts like Greek chorus (commenting on the opera characters to the audience)
    • Subject from Greek-Roman mythology
pre classical opera buffa
Pre-Classical Opera Buffa
  • Opera Buffa (comic opera)
    • developed as the middle class grew
  • The Beggar’s Opera (1728)
    • An Opera Buffa
    • in England
    • Written by John Gay
    • A satire of serious opera
    • Written for the middle class
    • Contained familiar folk/popular tunes
    • Main characters were highwaymen, pickpockets, and sluts
    • Contained spoken dialogue instead of recitative
  • Example – “Why How Now, Madam Flirt”
  • The Beggar’s Opera was really the first operetta but 130 ahead of its time!
classical opera
Classical Opera
  • Opera – most important type of musical entertainment
  • 2 Types of Opera
    • Opera Seria: serious opera
      • Plots of historical kings & queens or gods & goddessesof ancient Greece and Rome
      • appealed to the upper class
    • Opera Buffa: comic opera
      • Plots of common people
      • More popular tunes and satire (making fun of opera seria)
      • Appealed to growing middle class

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Mozart - most important Composer of both!
mozart opera buffa
Mozart & Opera Buffa
  • Mozart’s Contributions
    • Elegance
      • Beautiful melodies & sophisticated harmonies
    • Character development
      • Real emotions
      • Situations that provide the comedy
  • Example: Act I Scenes 6 & 7
    • Opera Buffa
    • By Mozart
    • Aria + Recitative + Trio
    • From The Marriage of Figaro
    • Plot about 2 common servants
    • Involves a trouser role
opera and operetta split




Opera Seria

Beggar’s Opera


Opera Buffa

Opera Seria


Opera Comique


Grand & Lyric Opera


Opera and Operetta Split
romantic opera
Romantic Opera

National Trends in Opera

  • Italy
    • Opera seria: in Italian with recitative
    • Opera buffa: in Italian with recitative
      • Big composer: Verdi
  • Germany
    • Music drama: Germany’s version of opera with German legends as subject; sung in German
      • Big composer: Wagner
    • Singspiel: Germany’s version of opera buffa; sung in German with spoken dialogue
romantic opera continued
Romantic Opera (continued)
  • France
    • Grand opera: like opera seria
      • spectacle + history/mythology subject
    • Opera comique (operetta!):comical like opera buffa
      • smaller casts
      • spoken text replaces recitative
      • often satire of opera seria
    • Lyric Opera
      • somewhere between grand opera and opera comique
      • example would be Carmen by Bizet
operetta takes hold
Operetta takes Hold

France - Opera comique/operetta(continued)……

  • Example – Orpheus in the Underworld (1858)
    • Gallop
    • By Offenbach
    • Operetta/ opera comique
    • Romantic period
    • France
    • Satire
    • Had some popular songs

This is really where operetta takes hold!

operetta travels to vienna austria
Operetta Travels toVienna, Austria
  • Johann Strauss, Jr.
    • Nicknamed The Waltz King
  • Famous for writing waltzes (i.e., The Blue Danube)
      • Waltz: a dance in three
        • Was very popular during this period, especially in Vienna
      • Strauss built operettas around popular dances like the waltz and the polka
  • Example - Die Fledermaus (1874)
      • The Laughing Song
      • Coloratura aria (with fluid trills & runs)
      • Lush orchestration and full harmonies
      • A waltz
      • Maintains some opera traditions, like trouser role
operetta travels further to prague now the czech republic
Operetta Travels Further to Prague(now the Czech Republic)
  • Franz Lehár
    • Example: Love Unspoken
      • From The Merry Widow (1905)
      • Queen of Operettas
      • Duet
      • A waltz
      • Lovely, lyrical melodies
      • Used popular themes & fashions of the day

The Merry Widow became extremely popular in Europe

operetta travels back to england
Operetta Travels Back toEngland
  • Gilbert & Sullivan
    • Unique British Operetta style
    • They wrote 14 operettas together
      • Used British satire
      • Catchy numbers
      • Simple harmonies
      • Big use of chorus
    • Example: We Sail the Ocean Blue
      • Male chorus from HMS Pinafore (1878)
    • Example: Overture, from Pirates of Penzance (1879)
operetta travels overseas to the united states
Operetta Travels Overseas to the United States
  • Essentially kept Europeanoperetta traditions with an American flair
  • Victor Herbert
    • Born in Dublin (Ireland),
    • Educated in Vienna (Austria)
    • Example: A Kiss in the Dark
      • From Orange Blossoms (1921)
      • Aria
      • Waltz
      • Lyric melody
why operetta lost popularity
Why Operetta Lost Popularity


  • Written for popular scenes of the day
    • Doesn’t make sense to today’s crowd
  • If libretto is “updated,” essence of the piece is lost
  • If performed in opera crowd there are some projection issues because of spoken text
  • American musical theatre became popular in 1920s and replaced operetta
    • Contained more rustic themes, vaudeville, burlesque, etc.
    • Rooted in American culture rather than European tradition
  • Still very popular in Europe
    • Are part of the regular opera seasons
  • Most U.S. opera houses include an occasional operetta

Operetta Travels (1858-1921)

Gilbert & Sullivan


United States







light music drama

some spoken dialogue

combines vocal music and orchestra

has overture

has arias, duets, trios, etc.

combines poetry, drama, acting, pantomime

scenery and costumes

subject matter is comical, satirical or lighthearted

subject & fashions were popular during that time & for that region

music written in Romantic operatic styles

typically performed for the general public

often very popular with middle class of the time

  • music drama
  • sung throughout (recitative instead of spoken dialogue)
  • combines vocal music and orchestra
    • has overture
    • has arias, duets, trios, etc.
  • combines poetry, drama, acting, pantomime
  • scenery and costumes
  • subject matter is typically taken from historical characters or mythology
  • music written in operatic styles of the day
  • Was typically performed for the noble class
    • Today for all audiences
operetta vs opera
Operetta vs. Opera


Music drama

Sung throughout (recitative instead of spoken dialogue)

Subject matter tends to be from historical characters or mythology

Music written in the operatic styles of the day (ie., Marriage of Figaro)

Typically performed for the noble (upper) classes

Combines poetry, drama, acting, pantomime

Combines vocal music and orchestra -

has overture, arias, duets, trios, etc.


Light music drama

Some spoken dialogue

Subject matter tends to be light-hearted, comical or satirical and tended to be in the fashions of the time and unique to each region

Music written in Romantic operatic styles (except for Beggar’s Opera)

Typically performed for the general public (popular with middle class)

Combines poetry, drama, acting, pantomime

Combines vocal music and orchestra -

has overture, arias, duets, trios, etc.

operetta vs musical
Operetta vs. Musical
  • Musical: a play with singing
    • Syllabic
    • Narrower range
    • Legit & belt or popular singing
    • Lots of spoken dialogue
    • Requires actors who can sing & dance
    • Subject matter comical, sometimes dealing with issues of the day or dealing with any topic at all
    • Appealed to middle & lower middle class
  • Operetta: light opera
    • More melismatic
    • Wider range
    • Legit singing
    • Some spoken dialogue
    • Requires singers who can act and dance minimally
    • Subject matter light-hearted, comical, satirical including fashions of the day
    • Appealed to middle class