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Encyclopedia > Italian opera
Music of Italy
Genres: Classical: Opera
Pop: Rock (Hardcore) - Hip hop - Folk - jazz
History and Timeline
Awards Italian Music Awards
Charts Federation of the Italian Music Industry
Festivals Sanremo Festival - Umbria Jazz Festival - Ravello Festival - Festival dei Due Mondi
Media Music media in Italy
National anthem Il Canto degli Italiani
Regional scenes
Aosta Valley - Abruzzo - Basilicata - Calabria - Campania - Emilia-Romagna - Florence - Friuli-Venezia Giulia - Genoa - Latium - Liguria - Lombardy - Marche - Milan - Molise - Naples - Piedmont - Puglia - Rome - Sardinia - Sicily - Trentino-South Tyrol - Tuscany - Umbria - Veneto - Venice
Related topics
Opera houses - Music conservatories - Terminology

Italian opera can be divided into three periods, the Baroque, the Romantic and the modern. The Baroque appeared first, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and approximately 200 years later, the Romantic. The word opera is a shortened form of the Italian opera in musica (work in music); an English dictionary in 1656 stated, "In Italy it signifies a tragedy, tragi-comedy, or pastoral which is not acted after the vulgar manner, but performed by voices in that way, which the Italians term, 'recitative', being likewise adorned with scenes by perspective, and extraordinary advantage by music." The music of Italy ranges across a broad spectrum of opera and instrumental classical music, the traditional styles of the countrys diverse regions, and a body of popular music drawn from both native and imported sources. ... // Art Music Art music is a somewhat broader term than classical music and may be defined for the purposes of this article as establishment music (either religious or secular) that is composed for pubic or private performance. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Italy is a European country, and has had a long relationship with rock and roll, a style of music which spread to the country by the early 1960s from the United States. ... There was a dynamic Italian hardcore punk scene in the 1980s . ... Italian hip hop started in the early 1990s. ... Italian folk music has a deep and complex history. ... Italian jazz. ... The modern state of Italy did not come into being until 1861, though the roots of music on the Italian peninsula can be traced back to the music of Ancient Rome. ... Time line for Music of Italy Dates for musical periods such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, etc. ... Italian music awards There are a great number of music competitions that offer prizes for performance and composition in both classical and popular music. ... FIMI Federazione dellindustria musicale italiana (Federation of the Italian music industry) is an umbella organization that keeps track of virtually all aspects of the music recording industry in Italian. ... Italian music festivals Below is a list of major music festivals in Italy with links to the appropriate external websites: Arena di Verona Outdoor opera during the summer months in the Roman amphitheater in Verona. ... The Festival della canzone italiana (in english: Festival of the Italian song) is a popular Italian song contest running since 1951 and held annually in the city of Sanremo. ... Live concert in IV Novembre Square The Umbria Jazz Festival is one of the most important venues for Jazz in Europe and has been held annually since 1973, usually in July, in the city of Perugia, Italy. ... The annual Festival of Ravello is a popular music venue in Italy. ... Cathedral of Santa Maria dellAssunta in Spoleto The Festival dei due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) is an annual summer festival in the city of Spoleto, Italy. ... Music media in Italy There is an abundance of print, on-line and broadcast media in Italy that cover all kinds of music. ... A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that is evoking and eulogizing the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nations government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people. ... Goffredo Mameli, author of the text of the Italian national anthem Michele Novaro, composer of the music Il Canto degli Italiani (The Song of the Italians) is the Italian national anthem. ... The development of music in the Aosta Valley region of Italy, similar to nearby Piedmont, has much to do with the presence of medieval monasteries that preserved important musical manuscripts from the Middle Ages and also served as conduits of information and influence from areas to the north. ... At first glance, the Music of Abruzzo seems less defined than other regional music in Italy. ... The music of Basilicata is sparse at the moment. ... The Music of Calabria Like other regions in southern Italy, Calabria for many centuries was an integral part of the kingdom of Naples, and, as with other regions, the musical life tended to be overshadowed by the important activities in the capital city to the north--the conservatories there, the... Music of Campania The capital city of the Campania region of Italy is Naples; there is a separate article dealing with the Music of Naples. ... The Music of Emilia-Romagna has the reputation of being one of the richest in Europe; there are six music conservatories alone in the region, and the sheer number of other musical venues and activities is astounding. ... While Florence, itself, needs no introduction as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, the music of Florence may, in fact, need such an introduction. ... The musical fortunes of Friuli-Venezia Giulia are closely tied to its political fortunes over the course of centuries, all having to do with proximity to the great maritime Republic of Venice as well as to the Austro-Hungarian empire and the vicissitudes of being a heavily contested area during... (For music outside of the city and province of Genoa in the Liguria region of Italy, see Music of Liguria. ... (Latium (Lazio) is a region in central Italy that includes the city and province of Rome. ... The Music of Liguria flourished in the 19th century for a number of reasons. ... (This article is about the Music of Lombardy outside of the city and province of Milan. ... The music of the Marche has been shaped by the fact that the entire region is a collection of small centers of population. ... (This article is about music in and of the city and province of Milan. ... While it is one of the smalles regions of Italy, the Music of Molise is active. ... Ciao, Raggazi Music of Naples is very cool ... The Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian) has played an important role in the development of music, in general, in Italy, due to the presence of medieval monasteries in that area, institutions that were great preservers of mansucripts in the Middle Ages as well as being geographically well located to connect to... The Music of Puglia has had some glorious history as well as some very hard times. ... The Music of Rome is intensely active. ... Probably the most culturally distinct of all the regions in Italy, Sardinia is an islated island known for the tenores polyphonic chant, sacred songs called gozos and launeddas, a type of bagpipes. ... Sicily is home to a great variety of Christian music, including a cappella devotional songs from Montedoro and many brass bands like Banda Ionica, who play songs from a diverse repertoire. ... The Music of Trentino-South Tyrol reflects the multilingual and multiethnic make-up of the region. ... (This article is about the Music of Tuscany outside of the city and province of Florence. ... If there were a way to measure music per capita the Music of Umbria would rank very high. ... The music of Veneto has much to offer. ... (This article is about music in and of the city of Venice. ... Below is a list of major Italian opera houses with appropriate external links to their websites: Bologna Teatro Comunale Catania Teatro Bellini Florence Teatro la Pergola Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Florence La Scala Naples Teatro San Carlo Parma Teatro Regio di Parma Palermo Teatro Massimo Rome Teatro dellOpera Torino... Below is an alphabetical list, by city, of those music conservatories in Italy that maintain webpages. ... There is also an article on Italian musical terms used in English. ...


Baroque period

Not only the term, but the art of opera, came from Italy. The first opera for which music has survived was performed in 1600 at the wedding of Henry IV of France and Marie de Medici at the Pitti Palace in Florence. The opera, Euridice, from an Italian poem by Ottavio Rinuccini, set to music by Jacopo Peri and Giulio Caccini, recounted the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. The style of singing favored by Peri and Caccini was a heightened form of natural speech, dramatic recitation supported by instrumental string music; a technique developed in Florence in the 1580s known as monody. Recitation thus preceded the development of arias, though it soon became the custom to include separate songs and instrumental interludes during periods when voices were silent. The theme attracted Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) who wrote his first opera, La Favola d'Orfeo (The Fable of Orpheus), in 1607, which is still performed. 1600 was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ... Henry IV (French: Henri IV; December 13, 1553 – May 14, 1610), was the first monarch of the Bourbon dynasty in France. ... Marie de Medici (April 26, 1573 - July 3, 1642), born in Italy as Maria de Medici, was queen consort of France under the French name Marie de Médicis. ... Florences skyline Florences skyline at night from Piazza Michaelangelo Florence (Italian: ) is the capital city of the region of Tuscany, Italy. ... Ottavio Rinuccini (1562-1621) was an Italian Baroque composer and librettist. ... Jacopo Peri (August 20, 1561 – August 12, 1633) was an Italian composer and singer, often called the inventor of opera. ... Caccini, Le Nuove musiche, 1601, title page Giulio Caccini (October 8, 1551 – December 10, 1618) was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the very late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. ... Caccini, Le Nuove musiche, 1601, title page In poetry, monody is a poem in which one person laments anothers death. ... Portrait of Claudio Monteverdi in Venice, 1640, by Bernardo Strozzi. ...

Monteverdi gave a new dramatic life to the instrumental music, insisting on a strong relationship between the words and the instrumental music. When it was performed in Mantua, an orchestra of 38 instruments, numerous choruses and recitatives were used to make a lively drama. It was a far more ambitious version than those previously performed — more opulent, more varied in recitatives, more exotic in scenery — with stronger musical climaxes which allowed the full scope for the virtuosity of the singers. Opera had revealed its first stage of maturity in the hands of Monteverdi. Mantua (in Italian Mantova, in the local dialect of Emiliano-Romagnolo language Mantua) is an important city in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province with the same name. ...

In 1613, Monteverdi became the maestro da cappela at St. Mark's in Venice. Though he did not write any operas during his tenure, he wrote elaborate madrigals which were the bases for arias. Events January - Galileo observes Neptune, but mistakes it for a star and so is not credited with its discovery. ... A madrigal is a setting for 3–6 voices of a secular text, often in Italian. ...

In 1637, the first public opera house, Teatro San Cassiano, was opened in Venice with an enthusiastic response. The opera flourished along with familiar less sophisticated entertainment, the commedia dell'arte. Monteverdi began to write opera again. Unknown to him, it was close to the end of his life. His two operas, I Ritorno d'Ullise in Patria (The Return of Ullyses, 1637), and L'Incoronazione di Poppaea (The Coronation of Poppaea, 1642) were met with great enthusiasm and survive in today's world. Both operas showed a marked increase in musical flexibility with a mixture of recitatives, solos, duets and ensembles. Events February 3 - Tulipmania collapses in Netherlands by government order February 15 - Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor December 17 - Shimabara Rebellion erupts in Japan Pierre de Fermat makes a marginal claim to have proof of what would become known as Fermats last theorem. ...

Monteverdi is said to be responsible for the introduction of bel canto and buffa styles. Bel canto is defined as operatic singing stressing ease, purity and eveness of tone production and an agile and precise vocal technique; buffa when used to describe opera signifies comic complications, farcical and burlesque elements, the unusual and the unexpected. His works, which reflected the moods and dramatic vividness of the libretto in his music, became a model for the operatic composers to follow.

From this time onward, opera became increasingly prominent in musical life. Within forty years, Venice had ten opera houses. By the end of the century more than 350 operas had been produced in the new theaters in Venice and an equal number by Venetian composers elsewhere in Italy. Wealthy families had season tickets; inexpensive tickets brought in others; foreign visitors came to Venice for the music. Opera performances and composition became the medium through which individual artists gained prominence and fortune so that they no longer depended upon court patronage.

Among the favoured opera composers of the seventeenth century were Domenico Gabrielli (1651-1690) and Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747). Bononcini enjoyed immense success in Naples. His Il Trionfo di Camilla (1697) made him famous, well beyond the Italian peninsula. His operas were conducted and performed under her leadership in Vienna and London. Domenico Gabrielli (15 April 1651 or 19 October 1659 in Bologna, Italy - 10 July 1690 in Bologna) was an Italian Baroque composer and virtuoso violoncello player. ... Giovanni Bononcini (1670 - June 19, 1747), was an Italian Baroque composer and cellist, one of a family of musicians. ... The Bay of Naples Naples (Italian: , Neapolitan: Nàpule, from Greek Νεάπολη < Νέα Πόλις Néa Pólis New City) is the largest city in southern Italy and capital of the Campania region and the Province of Naples. ... Vienna (German: , see also other names) is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...

Romantic period

Romantic opera, which placed emphasis on the imagination and the emotions began to appear in the early 19th century, and because of its arias and music, gave more dimension to the extreme emotions which typified the theater of that era. In addition, it is said that fine music often excused glaring faults in character drawing and plot lines. Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) initiated the Romantic period. His first success was an "opera buffa" (comic opera), La Cambiale di Matrimonio (1810). His reputation still survives today through his Barber of Seville. But he also wrote serious opera, Otello (1816) and Guilliame Tell (1829). Portrait Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (February 29, 1792 – November 13, 1868)[1] was an Italian musical composer who wrote more than 30 operas as well as sacred music and chamber music. ...

Rossini's successors in the Italian bel canto were Vincenzo Bellini (1801–35), Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1843) and Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901). It was Verdi who transformed the whole nature of operatic writing during the course of his long career. His first great successful opera, Nabucco (1842), caught the public fancy because of the driving vigour of its music and its great choruses. Va, pensiero, one of the chorus renditions, was interpreted and gave advantageous meaning to the struggle for Italian independence and to unify Italy. Vincenzo Bellini Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini (November 3, 1801 – September 23, 1835) was an Italian opera composer. ... Gaetano Donizetti Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti (29 November 1797 – 8 April 1848) was a famous Italian opera composer. ... Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (either October 9 or 10, 1813 – January 27, 1901) was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. ...

After Nabucco, Verdi based his operas on patriotic themes and many of the standard romantic sources: Victor Hugo (Ernani, 1844); Byron (Il Duo Foscari, 1844); and Shakespeare (Macbeth, 1847). Verdi was experimenting with musical and dramatic forms, attempting to discover things which only opera could do. In 1877, he created Otello which completely replaced Rossini's opera, and which is described by critics as the finest of Italian romantic operas with the traditional components: the solo arias, the duets and the choruses fully integrated into the melodic and dramatic flow. Victor-Marie Hugo (pronounced in French) (26 February 1802 — May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, visual artist, statesman and human rights campaigner, perhaps the most influential exponent of the Romantic movement in France. ... Lord Byron, Anglo-Scottish poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (January 22, 1788–April 19, 1824) was an Anglo-Scottish poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. ... Shakespeare redirects here. ...

Verdi's last opera, Falstaff (1893), broke free of conventional form altogether and finds music which follows quick flowing simple words and because of its respect for the pattern of ordinary speech, it created a threshold for a new operatic era in which speech patterns are paramount.

Opera had become a marriage of the arts, a musical drama, full of glorious song, costume, orchestral music and pageantry; sometimes, without the aid of a plausible story. From its conception during the baroque period to the maturity of the romantic period, it was the medium through which tales and myths were revisited, history was retold and imagination was stimulated. The strength of it fell into a more violent era for opera: Verismo.

Source: Dr. Anthony A. Abruzzese of the PIRANDELLO LYCEUM Institute of Italian American Studies, Research and Cultural Disemmination.

Modern period

The greatest Italian operas of the twentieth century were written by Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924). These include Manon Lescaut, La bohème, Tosca, and Madam Butterfly. His final opera Turandot was left incomplete. Luciano Berio attempted a completion of the work. Berio also wrote operas but none have endured on the stage. Luigi Dallapiccola (1904–1975) wrote two operas that have stood the test of time, Ulisse (1960–68), and Il Prigioniero (1944–48, "The Prisoner"). Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (December 22, 1858 – November 29, 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas, including La bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly, are among the most frequently performed in the standard repertoire. ... Manon Lescaut is a novel by the abbé Prévost. ... La bohème[1] is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de Bohème by Henri Murger. ... Original poster Tosca is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Victorien Sardous drama, La Tosca. ... Madama Butterfly (or sometimes Madame Butterfly in English) is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, set in Japan. ... Original Turandot poster For the opera by Ferruccio Busoni, see Turandot (Busoni). ... Luciano Berio (October 24, 1925 – May 27, 2003) was an Italian composer. ... Luigi Dallapiccola (February 3, 1904 &#8211; February 19, 1975) was an Italian composer known for his lyrical twelve-tone compositions. ...

See also

  • Italian-language operas category.

  Results from FactBites:
Opera - MSN Encarta (1126 words)
Opera began as an entertainment at the courts of the Italian aristocracy, with outdoor terraces and even enclosed tennis courts being adapted for performances.
Opera as a popular entertainment attained its zenith in the 19th and early 20th centuries, after which the disruptive effects of two world wars and far-reaching developments in music itself left opera in a state of fairly arrested development.
A form of light, sentimental comic opera that flourished in Paris and Vienna in the late 19th and early 20th centuries came to be called operetta.
Opera - MSN Encarta (1055 words)
Opera itself was developed by a group of musicians and scholars based in Florence who called themselves the Camerata (Italian for “salon”).
The principal Italian opera centre during the middle and late 17th century was Venice.
He wrote 40 operas in the Italian style for London theatres during the 1720s and 1730s, after which he gave up opera and turned to the oratorio.
  More results at FactBites »



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