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Encyclopedia > Opera buffa

Opera buffa (a form of comic opera), also known as Commedia in musica or Commedia per musica, is a genre of opera. It developed in Naples in the first half of the 18th century, and from there its popularity spread to Rome and northern Italy. Comic opera is a subcategory of opera, and denotes a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature. ... The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. ... Naples panorama. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... Nickname: The Eternal City Motto: SPQR: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area    - City 1285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban...



In the history of operatic development, Opera buffa formed as a response to the stylistic characteristics (and wanton excesses) of the opera seria style. Opera buffa was, in part, intended to transform opera into a genre that the common man could relate to more easily. Whereas opera seria was a lavish entertainment that was both made for and depicted kings and nobility, opera buffa was made for and depicted common people with more common problems. Opera seria is an Italian musical term which refers to the noble and serious style of Italian opera that predominated in Europe from the 1720s to ca 1770. ...

Comic characters and situations, usually involving servants, had been a part of opera seria until the early 18th century, when comic opera, or "opera buffa", began to emerge as a separate genre. At first, comic operas were composed as short, one-act interludes that were performed in between acts of opera seria. Such an interlude was known as an intermezzo, and formed the precursor to the full-fledged comic opera that would develop later in the 18th century. La serva padrona by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (17101736), is the one intermezzo still performed with any regularity today, and provides an excellent example of the style. InterMezzo is a distributed file system written for Linux, distributed with a GPL licence. ... La serva padrona (The Servant Mistress) was originally sandwiched in between the opera seria Il prigioniero superbo (The Proud Prisoner), also by Pergolesi. ... Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. ... // Events April 10 - The worlds first copyright legislation became effective, Britains Statute of Anne Ongoing events Great Northern War (1700-1721) War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713) Births January 3 - Richard Gridley, American Revolutionary soldier (d. ... Events January 26 - Stanislaus I of Poland abdicates his throne. ...

Apart from Pergolesi, the first major composers of opera buffa were Nicola Logroscino, Baldassare Galuppi and Alessandro Scarlatti, all of them based in Naples or Venice. Nicola Logroscino (1698-1763 ?), Italian musical composer, was born at Naples and was a pupil of Durante. ... Baldassare Galuppi (October 18, 1706 - January 3, 1785) was a Venetian composer noted for his operas, and particularly opera buffa. ... Alessandro Scarlatti Alessandro Scarlatti (May 2, 1660 – October 24, 1725) was a Baroque composer especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. ... Naples panorama. ... Venice (Italian: Venezia, Venetian: Venezsia) is the capital of region Veneto, and has a population of 271,663 (census estimate January 1, 2004). ...

Popularity as a goal

Popularity was the writers' intention, so these "experiments" (as they were called by resisting formalist musicians) also had intelligible vocal content. This is in contrast with traditional music that, after Gregorian Chant, had passed to rigid formal schemes extended in Latin or in German, never comprehensible for the general public. Abandoning these languages for the more friendly Italian and French, Recitativo instead broke that habit (which also rendered music an exclusive interest for certain cultural communities, and not even all of them). The public was finally able to decipher the words that singers pronounced, the story beyond the music was intelligible. It was a relevant movement toward laïcal themes "de-sacralised" music, allowing acceptance of a concept of "music for mere entertainment". Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of the Roman Catholic Church. ...

Most of these facts regard opera in general, but opera buffa in particular. It is indeed very difficult to adopt a formalist scheme for a classification of opera buffa, since no one would ever deny the serious content and value of some among the best known works that are usually ascribed to its kind, even when they declaratively are a "Dramma giocoso" rather than expressedly an "opera buffa", and we generally include them all in "opera". Any distinctive element has therefore to be considered in a relative proportion, in comparison with the many singularities that each work showed.

Certainly, while opera seria dealt with mythical subjects such as gods and ancient heroes, and only episodically contained comic scenes, Opera buffa had those scenes as its most important part, and sometimes the reason for the opera itself. Music was going in the direction of public, so what could be more appropriated than themes and stories that common people could have enjoyed? Comic stories in opera were the final translation (for the times) of music for entertainment.

Other important details and characteristics are used to differentiate opera buffa from opera seria. The traditional model for opera seria had three acts, dealt with serious subjects in mythical settings as stated above and only used high voices. This meant that there were no basses or baritones used anywhere in the opera. Most opera seria was written to include the "castrati" meaning men who were castrated before going through puberty so as to retain their high voices from boyhood. In contrast, the model that generally held for opera buffa was having four acts, dealing with comic scenes and situations as earlier stated and using the full range of voices. This led to the creation of the "basso buffo" which became a staple character in opera buffa. The basso buffo was a low-voiced male who was the center of most of the comic action. Many of his arias and solos are very fast-paced and have numerous leaps between notes to add comic effect. A well-known basso buffo part is Leporello from Mozart's Don Giovanni.

In some of the opere buffa, a language was used that the lower class would relate to, often in the local dialect, and used caricatures that were often found in Italian commedia dell'arte. Introduction Antoine Watteaus commedia dellarte player of Pierrot, ca 1718-19, traditionally identified as Gilles (Louvre) Commedia dellarte, (Italian, meaning comedy of professional artists) was a form of improvisational theater which began in the 16th century and was popular until the 18th century, although it is still...

It is sometimes affirmed that in opera buffa musical content is often simpler, maybe poorer, limited in length and in fantasy, and these would be sufficient reasons not to include it in the higher genres. Nevertheless, the now discussed genius of Mozart didn't miss the chance of giving us a masterpiece Le nozze di Figaro, or perhaps two Don Giovanni, and was followed by pretty much all the major composers. And it must not be forgotten that instruments and voices were developed within this musical area and later accepted for other compositions too, as the Puccini's basso buffo in 'Tosca.' Le Nozze di Figaro, is a comic opera composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Beaumarchais. ...

The type of comedy could vary, and the range was great: from Rossini's The Barber of Seville in 1816 which was purely comedic, to Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in 1786 which added drama and pathos. The genre declined in the late 19th century, and it is often considered that Verdi's Falstaff, in 1893 was the last of the Opera buffa. 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. ... The Barber of Seville (Il barbiere di Siviglia) is a comic opera in two acts by Gioacchino Rossini with a libretto (based on Beaumarchaiss comedy Le Barbier de Séville) by Cesare Sterbini. ... Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (IPA: , baptized Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart) (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. ... Le nozze di Figaro ossia la folle giornata (Trans: ), K. 492, is an opera buffa (comic opera) composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, Le mariage de Figaro (1784). ... Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (either October 9 or 10, 1813 – January 27, 1901) was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. ... Falstaff is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeares play The Merry Wives of Windsor. ...

Some authors have advanced the idea that one of the important aspects of opera buffa would be that it imposed the attention on the audience, rather than "on conservatories", and this helped the greater opera too to milden its melodies in order to be more easily and widely accepted. Also, it is said that opera buffa was a sort of demonstration of the concrete possibility of breaking rigid rules, yet consolidated, that before were considered unchangeable. Moreover, some critics usually recall the famous insertions of popular themes (i.e. choruses and voices in Bizet's Carmen, as well as the tarantella in Tchaikovsky's all-musical Capriccio Italiano) as different examples on different fields of the constant need for musicians to get out of formalism, to let everyday life enter music, after the essential lesson of opera buffa. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский, sometimes transliterated as Piotr, Anglicised as Peter Ilich), (May 7, 1840 – November 6, 1893 (N.S.); April 25, 1840 – October...

On an external side, French Encyclopédistes considered opera buffa "à l'Italienne" a positive response to the imperative schemes then used, and made it become a sort of symbol of compositive freedom.


Opera buffa by Piero Weiss and Julian Budden, in 'The New Grove Dictionary of Opera', ed. Stanley Sadie (London, 1992) ISBN 0-333-73432-7 The New Grove Dictionary of Opera is an encyclopedia (or encyclopedic dictionary) of opera, considered to be one of the best general reference sources on the subject. ...

See also

Comic opera Comic opera is a subcategory of opera, and denotes a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature. ...

Opera Genres

Ballad opera • Dramma giocoso • Género chico • Grand Opera • Opéra-ballet • Opera buffa • Opéra bouffe • Opéra bouffon • Opéra comique • Opéra féerie • Opera semiseria • Opera seria • Operetta • Pastorale héroïque • Savoy opera • Semi-opera • Singspiel • Tragédie en musique • Verismo • Zarzuela Ballad opera is a genre of 18th century English stage entertainment. ... Dramma giocoso (Italian: comical drama; plural: drammi giocosi) is the name of a genre of comic operas with its origins in the mid-18th century. ... Madrids Zarzuela theatre Género chico (literally, little genre) is a Spanish genre of short light dramas. ... Grand Opera is a style of opera mainly characterized by many features on a grandiose scale. ... Opéra-ballet was a popular genre of French Baroque opera. ... Opéra bouffe (plural, opéra bouffes) is a genre of late 19th century French operetta, closely associated with Jacques Offenbach, who produced many of them at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens that gave its name to the form. ... Opéra bouffon is the French term for the Italian genre of opera called opera buffa performed in 18th-century France, either in the original language or in French translation. ... Opéra comique is a French style of opera that is a partial counterpart to the Italian opera buffa. ... Opéra féerie (plural, opéra féeries) is a French genre of opera or opéra-ballet based on fairy tales, often with elements of magic in their stories. ... Opera semiseria (semi-serious opera) is an Italian genre of opera, popular in the early 19th century. ... Opera seria is an Italian musical term which refers to the noble and serious style of Italian opera that predominated in Europe from the 1720s to ca 1770. ... Operetta (literally, little opera) is a performance art-form similar to opera, though it generally deals with less serious topics. ... Pastorale héroïque is a genre of French Baroque opera. ... The Savoy Operas are a series of operettas written by Gilbert and Sullivan. ... Semi-opera is an early form of opera. ... Singspiel (song-play) is a form of German-language music drama, similar to modern musical theater, though it is also referred to as a type of operetta or opera. ... The French lyric tragedy (French : tragédie lyrique or tragédie en musique) is a specific French form of opera introduced by Jean-Baptiste Lully and used by his followers until the second half of the eighteenth century. ... Verismo was an Italian literary movement born approximately between 1875 and 1895. ... For other uses, see Zarzuela (disambiguation). ...

  Results from FactBites:
Opera buffa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1218 words)
Opera buffa (Comic opera), also known as Commedia per musica (musical comedy), or Dramma giocoso per musica (musical dramatic comedy), is a form of opera.
One of the functions of opera at the time was to bring some of the technique and aesthetic of serious music--oratorio, cantata, and other forms--into something more "accessible" by musicians and listeners, a process as culturally significant in 18th century Italy as it is today in other countries.
The genre declined in the 19th century, and it is often considered that Verdi's Falstaff, in 1893 was the last of the Opera buffa.
opera. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05 (3517 words)
Officially, French opera began in 1669 with the establishment of the Académie royale de Musique, which was taken over by Jean Baptiste Lully in 1672 after the bankruptcy of its founders.
The ballad opera eventually led to the singspiel, the German comic opera with spoken dialogue, which was to reach its highest development in the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
These operas, although somewhat limited in melodic invention, fused in their plots the natural and the supernatural and paved the way for the grandiose music dramas of Richard Wagner, who also wrote his own librettos.
  More results at FactBites »



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