The History of Italian Opera

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The History of Italian Opera

By | April 2008
Page 1 of 7
The History of Italian Opera
Introduction
There are many forms of art such as, paintings, sculptures, buildings, etc. Opera is another form of art though it may not seem like art to many people. “Few forms of art… are as overtly involved as opera in the social and historical contexts within which they are created and consumed” (Lindenberger 235). Italian opera which obviously formed in Italy is a form of art in the Italian language. It was introduced in Italy in the 1600s. Ironically many composers of Italian opera were from other areas of the world rather than Italy. However, there are many famous composers who were born and raised in Italy. These operas written by these composers are some of the most famous throughout the world. The magnificent feature of opera is the fact that it tells a story. “It may be described as sung drama, in which the theatrical force is carried by the music as well as the text” (Headington, Westbrook, Barfoot 11). The history of Italian opera shows the change in styles over the course of time and throughout society.

Origins of Italian Opera
This form of art through music was not something new that was taking place. In fact, this presentation dates all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Many composers tried to create works of art during the Renaissance. This ancient idea of the Greeks and their world was an inspiration and starting point for many of these artists and composers. For the Italians, this music was used to develop the text and was just another part of the performance. “…the Renaissance intellectuals who met in Florence and elsewhere after about 1750 seem to have been firm in their belief that classical plays were sung throughout, and so they placed the emphasis on vocal and musical aspects above all. From this error arose their fundamental concept of opera, which has, broadly speaking, remained our own” (Headington, Westbrook, Barfoot 12).

The 17th Century
The Renaissance brought about an...