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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Opera - 1510 words
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.. and his synthesizing of the textual dramaturgy with music. These innovations became significant advances in operas' search for musical-dramatic integrity, and became the basis for the evolution of the French opera. In Germany, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Romanticism combined music, drama, philosophy and stagecraft. One of the most important figures of this era is Carl Weber.
Weber gave birth to German Romanticism; his operas dealt with popular German legend, medieval superstition, and elements of magic. His opera, Der Freisch"utz, became one of the most significant works in the history of German opera, influencing Wagner, who surpassed him in the development of leitmotiv techniques, dramatic recitative, and the symphonic use of orchestra. Der Freisch"utz is a singspiel - a series of musical numbers connected by spoken dialogue - that represents a combination of Gluck's earlier works and the more mature works of Wagner. Another great composer of the first half of the nineteenth century is Gioacchino Antonio Rossini. Rossini was the most important Italian opera composer during that time, and a master of the opera buffa genre
Though he is best known for his comic and satiric operas, he also composed operas with serious themes. The best of his serious operas have power and passion, and his best comic operas are spontaneous. In the comic operas, he mastered the art of mixing humor with grief. Rossini's opera buffa masterpiece was The Barber of Seville. Today, it is considered the greatest comic masterpiece.During the 1800s, grand opera developed in France.
Grand operas are gigantic productions, full of powerful singing. They are serious works based on historical events, in four or five acts with chorus and ballet, and its text is fully set to music. The vocal parts are extremely difficult to sing and are a real test of a vocal musician's skill. They also require a wonderful voice. Giuseppe Verdi was one of the great composers of grand opera, composing 28 operas during his time. The theme behind his early operas concerned his patriotic mission for the liberation of Italy.
At that time Italy was suffering under the rule of France and Austria. Each of his early operas advocated Italy's independence as well as individual freedom. For instance, in Giovanna d'Arco, the French patriot Joan confronts the oppressive English and is killed. The year 1851 was the beginning of Verdi's peak period. During this time he composed some of his best operas of all time: Rigoletto (1851); Il Trovatore (1853); La Traviata (1853); I Vespri Siciliani (1855); Simon Boccanegra (1857); Aroldo (1857); Un Ballo in Maschera (1859); La Forza del Destino (1862); Don Carlo (1867); and Aida (1871). In his final works he composed what is considered his greatest masterpieces: Otello (1887), and Falstaff (1893). During the second half of the nineteenth century, Richard Wagner revolutionized opera with his conceptions of music drama, eliminating the structures of recitatives and arias, resulting in the combination of music and text.
Richard Wagner, who was composing at about the same time as Verdi, had his own ideas about opera. He thought the music, the words, and the acting should all work together as a music-drama. Wagner wrote his own libretto, the story and words of an opera, unlike most composers who used words from plays of hired poets to create the lines. Wagner also used a short melody, a leitmotiv, to stand for each important character, idea or object in the drama. When a particular character came on stage or was mentioned in the lines, that character's leitmotiv could usually be heard in the music.Wagner was a specialist in writing operas and thus his greatest works all fall into this category. His greatest works include Die Meistersinger von N"urnberg (The Mastersinger of Nuremberg), Tannh"auser, and Der fliegende Holl"ander (The Flying Dutchman). Another of Wagner's greatest works is Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Nibelung's Ring) which is a huge 18 hour assemblance of 4 operas which are all combined. Perhaps the 'Ring operas' are the closest Wagner ever got to achieving his lifelong dream of combining art, literature, and music.
He took opera so far forward that every composer who was his contemporary had to respond to the challenge of "Wagnerism", for or against.During the lifetimes of composers up to Meyerbeer there was no 'repertory' of operas. Composers like Bellini were expected to come up with fresh material, season after season, even if they had to use parts of their own works for material that had not been offered to that city's audience. One common strategy was to imitate the work of other composers, especially when such work had achieved considerable success. The idea of an opera repertory originated with Richard Wagner, in his Festspielhaus in Bayreuth.Verismo is an opera genre that evolved in Italy during the late nineteenth century. Verismo began as a literary movement, represented in Italy by the novels and plays of Giovanni Verga.
Veristic operas depict real life conflicts and tensions; its primary focus was to present reality. Therefore, the plots deal with intensive passions involving sex, seduction, revenge, betrayal, jealousy, murder and death. Giacomo Pussini was the successor of Italy's opera icon, Giuseppe Verdi. Through his career, Puccini identified himself with verismo. He liked the ideals of verismo: no subject was too harsh. Swift, dramatic action and brutal, sadistic passions can be seen in Verdi's Tosca and Il Tabarro.
In other operas, such as Manon Lescaut, La Boh`eme and Madame Butterfly, verismo elements are expressed in the problems and conflicts of characters in everyday situations. The romantic era ended with World War I (1914-1918); the era's ideal of heightened emotion, already showing signs of decay, could not survive such a shock. The patterns of operatic composition began to break down, giving way to a period of uncertainty and experimentation. Richard Strauss was the primary German Romantic composer during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the true successor to Wagner. His first successful opera was Salome, composed in 1905.
After the production of this opera, Strauss formed a partnership with the Austrian poet and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, with whom he produced his finest operas, including Elektra (1909); Der Rosenkavalier (1911); Ariadne auf Naxos (1912); Die Frau Ohne Schatten (1919); Die Aegyptische Helena (1928); and Arabella (1933). After Hofmannsthal's death, Strauss produced operas with other librettists, though none so successfully. These include Die Schweigsame Frau (1935), Daphne (1938), and Capriccio (1942). In the middle of the 1800s a rich art form sprung up: operettas. Operettas - stage play with songs and dance combined with dialogue - are sometimes called 'light operas'. They are like operas but are lighthearted. They also include some speaking dialogue.
The settings are often making believe, with colorful scenery and elegant costumes. The plot of an operetta is always based on romance, in which the good characters win and the evil characters are happy tunes, and the dancing is light and cheerful.Franz Von Suppe was probably the first composer to create real operettas. He made romance the main part of the plot, with the waltz an important part of the music. After Von Suppe, most operettas had a big waltz scene that was an important part of the plot. Some of the most successful Europeans operettas were written by Franz team of Gilbert and Sullivan.
In the United States, operettas included both comedy and romance. Victor Herbert was one of the composers that made his greatest contribution to American music as a composer and writer of operettas. Some of his operettas, As Babes in Toyland (1903) and a Naughty Marietta (1910) have been performed all over the world. Since the 1850s, many operas have been based on true life stories or experiences. Today, operas are being staged in many different ways. The Italian born U.S.
composer Gian Carlo Menotti has written operas especially for radio and television. Menotti's opera Amahl and The Night Visitors are usually broadcasted at Christmastime.To conclude, some of the most famous popular operas include Mozart's The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni (1780s); Rossini's The Barber of Seville (1816); Verdi's Aida, La Travata, Othello and Rigoletto (1850s- 1870s); and Puccini's Madame Butterfly (1904); to list just a few. Famous recording opera stars include Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Pl'acido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and Jos'e Carreras. During the 400-year history of modern opera, there have been many improvements in the art of music drama. Throughout its history opera has exerted great influence on other forms of music. The symphony, for example, began as an instrumental introduction to 18th-century Italian opera.
The cadenzas of violin and piano concertos emerged, in large part, from an attempt to replicate some of opera's vocal intensity. Opera will continue to be a dynamic art form.BibliographyBoynick, Matt. "Richard Wagner -List of Works by Genre and Title."Richard Wagner. 1996 Feb. 1. http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/wagner.htmlBuckman, Jan H. J.S.
"George Frederic Handel." Handel Homepage. 2005 Jan. http://www.let.rug.nl/Linguistics/diversen/handel/ map.html Kamien, Roger. Music: An Appreciation. New York, NY: 2004Okuda, Michael, and Denise Okuda. Greatest Composers. New York: Pocket, 1993.Sturgeon, Theodore.
'Opera.' The Encyclopedia Americana. International ed. 1995.
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