Monday, April 11, 2011

Assignment 8: Opera

1.       Describe the difference between opera, light opera, and musical theater

Opera – An elevated style of musical theater as
defined by the age of Mozart from about 1775-1910

Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score.   It combines many of the elements of spoken theatre such as acting, scenery and costumes, and sometimes dance. 

Light Opera
 Less demanding form of operatic
theater. Incorporates spoken words. Appeals to a
broader audience. Still requires operatic voices and
live orchestra

Light operas or operettas, are light in terms both of music and subject matter with light                                 and amusing character. 

Musical Comedy, Musical Drama, Musical Films
The Broadway musical, music intersperse with
dialogue, less demanding vocally, can be
performed by singing

Musical genres are a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, and dance. 

2. How long does it take for someone to have a fully trained operatic voice?

No one is born with an operatic voice.  It takes many years to train and control the voice in such ways.  The peak performance of an opera singer is not acquired until after age thirty.  There is also a range of pitches that is used to create the sound of the opera. 

Soprano – the highest voice
Mezzo Soprano – slightly lower, with a darker
tone. Sometimes the feme fatale
Contralo – Lower than soprano. Sometimes a
disguised female playing a young boy
Tenor – Opera most famous male singers
Baritone – Midway between tenor and bass
Bass – the lowest voice. Sometime the comic

3. Choose an Opera by Puccini? Describe and interpret.

                Madama Butterfly is an opera in three acts by Puccini and an Italian libretto                  Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.  Based in the short story Madame Butterfly by                 John Luther Long the opera is about events of the early 20th Century in Nagasaki,                  Japan. 
                                      The love duet in the opera. 

The story of the opera sounds very dramatic and seems to focus much of its story on love and relationships.   I think that Puccini was trying to demonstrate the struggles of a relationship and also the idea that we find love in all kinds of strange places.  The way that Pinkerton has his mind set on the kind of woman that he wants to marry I think that he really does find love and companionship in his first wife but not expecting this he ignores is and goes with his original plan.  Overall, I think that this opera is to demonstrate relationships and their inner workings.

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