The Opera #249366

di Alfred Hertz

Forgotten Books

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All these arguments are justified; only they are not logical — they are not in line 'with the original ideal of opera — the dramatic ideal. Now from time to time reformers have arisen that have brought opera back into line with these ideals, but the fundamental contra diction, the non-logic, cannot be overcome by reform -hence each successive reform represents a com promise with the ideal, and incidentally furnishes a starting point for fresh abuses. The problem was not solved, and, it seems, never will be. It is a problem based on a misunderstanding — a most magnificent ah surdity. Opera, as we know it and enjoy it to-day, dates from the first of these reforms — that of Gluck, at about the middle of the eighteenth century. All that lies before is technical development, groping around, degeneration and the triumph of decadence; a hundred and fifty years of seething activity from which there remains hardly a note. It was the age of the singers' domina tion over the composer. Two distinct species germi nated in this period: the tragic and the comic, opera seria and opera buffa. Florence, Mantua, Venice and Naples had been the seed-ground of the new art; Ger many produced the first great fruits: Gluck in the opera seria, Mozart in the opera buffa. In France, meanwhile, the scenically magnificent French ballet-opera of Lully and Rameau had attained to a monumental glory, while Germany and England were raising native works in close imitation of the Italian model.
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Forgotten Books
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Alfred Hertz