Performing Arts Paper

Topics: Opera, Christoph Willibald Gluck, Music Pages: 3 (970 words) Published: October 29, 2010
Performing Arts Paper
According to the textbook Perceiving the Arts, opera is defined as the “combination of drama and music into a single artistic form” (Sporre, 2009). Opera is made up of primarily music along with other elements similar to a play such as costumes, scenery, lights, and a plot. Unlike a play, the plot of an opera unfolds through a combination of acting and singing. The follow provides an historical development and evolution of opera and the characteristics of the opera genre. In addition, the following provides information on famous composers associated with opera and concludes with the influence opera has made on society and culture. Historical Development and Evolution

The art of opera began during the Renaissance era in the late 16th century in Florence, Italy. Opera started as Greek plays recreated by adding music. According to the Music Lessons Online web site (2010), the first recorded opera was called Dafne and it was created in the late 1500’s . Opera style spread quickly across Europe and soon the first opera house was built in Venice, Italy in 1637. At this time, opera became available to the public, not just aristocracy entertainment. By 1700, 16 public opera houses opened (Columbian Encyclopedia, 2008). At that time, opera was considered an Italian music form. Lyrics were written in Italian only.

Christoph Gluck is a German composer credited with changing the face of opera with Orfeo et Eurydice in 1762, staged in Vienna. Orfeo et Eurydice is said to have changed opera because of its emphasis on drama (Asiado, 2007). The opera was the first of many “reformed operas” composed by Gluck, and influenced composers like Mozart. Orfeo et Eurydice set the standard for the modern opera style we see today. Opera finally emerged in German, French, Spanish, and Russian in the 19th century. France produced the Grand Opera that would last four to five hours and include ballet dancers. Wagners Ring Cycle followed this pattern, thus taking...
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