The Early Face of Italian Opera

Italian opera combines both the aspects of opera as an art and opera is part of the repository of the Italian language. Opera was in Italy in the late 1500ís and continues to play a dormant role in the cultural fabric of the country. Some of the most influential opera performances in Italy during this time were composed by foreigners.

Some of most famous foreigners who shaped Italian opera include Gluck, Handel, and Mozart. The best Italian opera compositions of all time credited to Italians were composed by famous people like Bellini, Verdi, Puccini and Donizetti. Today, the performances continue to grace opera houses all over the world.

Although Dafne music is no longer in existence, its influence during the 17th century was remarkable. It was performed during Henry IV’s wedding to Marie de Medici in Florence. Some memorable operas that made history as opera continued to grow include Euridice, which recounted vividly the story of Eurydice and Orpheus. The singing style was a form of a heightening natural speech which was accompanied by dramatic recitatives which were offered by strong string music.

Italian Opera

Italian Opera

Soon it became a custom to include instrumental interludes as well as separate songs during the spans of time when the voices became very silent. One common feature of Euridice and Dafne was the inclusion of choruses towards the end in the same manner with the Greek tragedy. Claudio Monteverdi wrote his first opera from the motivation that he got from the Orpheus theme. Orpheus was the demigod of music and an understandably popular composer and performer.

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Monteverdi always maintained a very strong relationship between music and word. When Mantua became the venue of Orfeo performances, there were amazing preparatory actions witnessed by people from this place. Lively drama was made to appear so because of the 38 instruments, recitatives and many choruses that graced the venue.

A few decades later, Opera found its way to every corner of Italy. In Rome, the main advocate of this form of art was Giulio Rospigliaosi, a prelate and a librettist who later became Pope Clement IX. Commercial opera thrived in Venice where the very first public opera house was completed in1637. The success of opera upon the opening of this venue opened the doors of change such that the aristocratic patronage of opera became a thing of the past.

Once opera was introduced in Venice, it took up the true form of entertainment. A paying public in this city soon made opera the most dominant form of entertainment throughout the 17th century. In order money, these opera houses employed a rather small orchestra. The biggest chunk of the budget money went towards paying the leading lady or Prima Dona. The Venetian opera chief composer Monteverdi chose to move to this republic from Mantua in 1614. It is after this move that he continued composing more opera works whose influence remains even today.