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Opera and the Enlightenment



This collection of essays explores the wide dimensions and influence of eighteenth-century opera.

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Edited by Thomas Bauman, Marita Petzoldt McClymonds

This is a collection of essays to explore the wide dimensions and influence of eighteenth-century opera. In a series of articles by leading scholars in the field, a range of perspectives are offered on the important figures of the day, including Handel, Vivaldi, Gluck, Rameau and Mozart, and on the fundamental problems of creation, revision, borrowing, influence and intertextuality. Other essays reinterpret librettos of serious opera in the French and Italian theatre during the later eighteenth century. Sister arts, notably painting, the novel, ballet and the spoken stage, are also examined in their relationship to the development of opera. Bracketing the collection are studies of the early pastoral opera and of Prokofiev, which expand our historical view of operatic life during the Age of Reason. The book contains numerous rare illustrations, and will be of interest to scholars and students of opera and theatre history.

Bibliographic Details


  • List of plates
  • Library abbreviations
  • Introduction Thomas Bauman
  • Part I. Prologue: 1. Pastoral and musical magic in the birth of opera Gary Tomlinson
  • Part II. Opera and the Visual Arts: 2. Moralizing at the tomb: Poussins Arcadian shepherds in eighteenth-century England and Germany Thomas Bauman
  • 3. Dr Burney, the bear, and the knight: E. F. Burney’s Amateurs of Tye-Wig Music Kerry S. Grant
  • 4. New light(s) on Weber’s Wolf’s Glen scene Anthony Newcomb
  • Part III. Serious Opera: 5. Sinfonia and drama in early eighteenth-century opera seria Reinhard Strohm
  • 6. The dramatic role of the chorus in French opera: evidence for the use of gesture, 1670–1770 Mary Cyr
  • 7. Transforming opera seria: Verazi’s innovations and their impact on opera in Italy Marita Petzoldt McClymonds
  • Part IV. Handel and Gluck: 8. Handel’s Serse Winton Dean
  • 9. The ‘sweet song’ in Demofoonte: a Gluck borrowing from Handel John H. Roberts
  • 10. Zéphire et Flore: a ‘galant’ early ballet by Angiolini and Gluck Bruce Alan Brown
  • 11. Gluck’s Iphigenia operas: sources and strategies Julie E. Cumming
  • Part V. Concerning Mozart: 12. The ‘storm’ music of Beaumarchais’ Barbier de Séville Walter E. Rex
  • 13. On Don Giovanni, No. 2 Joseph Kerman
  • 14. Leopold II, Mozart, and the return to a Golden Age John A. Rice
  • Part VI. Epilogue: 15. From fairy tale to opera in four moves (not so simple) Richard Taruskin
  • Index.

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