Document 17770759

Volume 1, No 1
How long has opera been with us? Many
explanations are available for the hearing.
Perhaps one of the most reliable theories has
it that near the end of the sixteenth century,
scholars and musicians in Florence, Italy,
bringing music to
drama. This is a
natural outgrowth
of the Renaissance
because this group thought that the ancient
Greeks had accompanied their plays with
Spring, April, 2008
pera is basically a play set to music. The
Oactors are accompanied by an orchestra.
So that the words can be recognized, solos
abound in this form of entertainment. The
musical instruments and other singers are
careful not to drown out the actor who is
singing a solo because this person is
delivering lines that convey the story of the
play. Initially, more emphasis was put on the
dramatic element; but, eventually, the public
proved to be more fond of music than story
lines. Plots began to take a back seat to
The music of these individuals transcends time. Although all of the
composers mentioned are now dead, their operas are enjoyed by
audiences around the world. Some of the most famous opera houses are
located in Rome, Italy; Sydney, Australia; New York, New York; and
London, England.
Love is another popular theme in the world of
opera. It comes in many forms: unrequited,
fulfilled, divine, profane, familial, and others.
To build tension, a triangle can be introduced.
The emotional involvement of the three
characters gives rise to impassioned pleas, suicides, murders, and other
dramatic events, all of which are reasons for song. The more anxiety,
the more opportunity for song. Love and death are recurring themes in
some of the most famous operas.
Madama Butterfly is an example of love, betrayal, and death. The
character, Butterfly, having married an American naval officer, is left in
Thus goes the evolution of a very enjoyable art form.
Once limited to the live performance, opera is also
available on tape recordings, compact disk, and
video cassettes. In the future, voices of deceased
sopranos, tenors, and other singers can be heard and
compared with contemporary artists.
Prepared by Elizabeth Peña
Elizabeth Peña, Editor
he characters were often historical in
Tnature and were even loosely
drawn from mythology. As years passed
by, costumes became more sumptuous,
scenery more embellished, and the songs
more elaborate. The dramatic
element was almost lost amid the
scales and backdrops. Acting was
rather rigid and prescribed.
Because the music was much
more important to the audience
than the quality of acting, men with high
voices often sang the parts of women. Even
today, women occasionally play parts of
males if the role calls for lofty notes.
The performers are still from Italy. Currently, however, they are joined
by singers from the United States and Australia. One famous tenor
conducts a contest each year and sings in concert with the winners.
Japan when her husband sails to the United States. She awaits him with
her baby. Un Bel Di, one of the most beautiful in opera, is sung while
longingly watching the harbor. Upon the return of her husband, who
has married an American, Butterfly kills herself.
American opera has a different flavor from that written in Europe. This
is because of the "wild West" motif. An sample of American opera is
The Ballad of Baby Doe. Instead of nobility and gypsies, there are
cowboys and miners. They are taken from American folklore. These
colorful characters carry on the operatic tradition set against distinctly
American backgrounds.