MWW Study Questions
MWW 54: Rationalistic Distaste for Opera
1. Italianate Opera did not conquer every European center without resistance, especially in countries (like France and England) with strong traditions of spoken drama. What exactly does St.-Evremond (p. 201-3) object to about opera, and why? Exactly what parts of a drama does he say should NOT be set to music, and why? People observe the justness if the cincirds; and amidst all the varieties that unite to make the sweetness of the harmony, nothing escapes us. The music is nothing else to our ears but a confused sound that suffers nothing to be distinguished. Beginning of the drama should not be set to music.
2. What do all 3 documents in MWW 54 have to say about machines? Why are they a topic of discussion? The machine has something that is surprising. Machines may satisfy the curiosity of ingenious men, who love mathematical inventions, but they will hardly please persons of good judgment in the theatre. The ancients made on use of machines, but when there was a necessity of bringing in some God.
MWW 62: The Conventions of Opera Seria
1. What is the setting of this little story, and how did Goldoni come to be there? Goldoni had just been admitted to the bar in his native Venice, but, finding on clients, he spent his time composing a drama oer musica entitled Amalasunta. Soon he found himself so deeply in debt that he had to flee Venice. 2. How is he treated by the various members of the gathering? They all offered to lend me their support ; but they suggested that before exposing the Drama to the judgment of the impresarios, it would be well to expose it to that of my friends. 3. What exactly were the criticisms of his libretto, and what do these reveal about the reigning conventions of opera seria? His work is simple, Dramma per musica in itself an imperfect composition, has been subjected by custom to certain rules. Those of Aristotle, Horace, and all who...