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Download e-book for iPad: Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage by Peter Brown, Suzana Ograjensek

By Peter Brown, Suzana Ograjensek

ISBN-10: 0199558558

ISBN-13: 9780199558551

Opera used to be invented on the finish of the 16th century in imitation of the intended form of supply of old Greek tragedy, and, considering the fact that then, operas in response to Greek drama were one of the most crucial within the repertoire. This choice of essays via best gurus within the fields of Classics, Musicology, Dance experiences, English Literature, smooth Languages, and Theatre reports offers a very wide-ranging and distinctive evaluation of the connection among the 2 genres. seeing that tragedies have performed a miles greater half than comedies during this department of operatic background, the amount in most cases concentrates at the tragic repertoire, yet a bankruptcy on musical models of Aristophanes' Lysistrata is incorporated, in addition to discussions of incidental song, a crucial a part of the musical reception of historic drama, from Andrea Gabrieli in 1585 to Harrison Birtwistle and Judith Weir within the past due 20th and early twenty-first centuries.

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And] it could never detach itself from that covering . . because the religious cult of Bacchus and his praises sung by the chorus formed the principal object of the festivals. [ . . But] our modern authors, lacking the excuse of superstition and habit, would no longer be pardonable if, to parade their masterly (as they might 37 See Jason Geary, Ch. 3 in this volume. 38 For the first and second, see Grout (1963) passim; for choral variety, see Perrucci (1961), 153–5. 39 Operatic choruses acting rather more consistently like Greek ones do return, however, in works that, according to their lights, are fairly close adaptations of Greek originals, notably the Gluck/Guillard Iphige´nie en Tauride after Euripides’ Iphigenia among the Taurians of 1779, with its much-in-evidence sisterhood of priestesses,40 and the Stravinsky/Cocteau ‘opera-oratorio’ Oedipus Rex after Sophocles of 1927, where the assembled men of Thebes see all the stage action and comment on much of it.

30 Alluring classical precedents and pressing modern concerns combine again sixty years later in the fertile conversations between Gottfried Semper and Richard Wagner, first at Dresden in the 1840s and later at Zu¨rich and Munich. Wagner had been struck in his operatic wander-years from 1833 to 1839 by the very occasional theatre in which a steeply raked auditorium, a semi-sunken musicians’ pit or a restriction of the number of side-boxes gave the audience as a whole a better chance of seeing the scene-stage clearly, saved it from being distracted by the band’s having too distinct a presence (visually, acoustically), and allowed it to feel like a socially united entity.

European opera and Greco-Roman drama after all are both major manifestations of music-theatre in the broadest sense. They ought to be able to help each other. The Abbe´ Vatry, thinking about links between them in the 1720s in that paper on ‘The Performance of Ancient Tragedy’, makes a shrewd and nicely Dionysian point when he observes that, though modern opera is often lacking in good sense, it does have other virtues. The transforming presence of music, which ‘adds to the liberties that poetry has a right to take’, enables it to provide an acceptable home for things that would seem ridiculous in spoken drama: sheer fictions, the supernatural, lengthy monologues, transports of passion.

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Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage by Peter Brown, Suzana Ograjensek

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