He promoted morality by portraying heroic characters

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He promoted morality by portraying heroic characters from ancient Greek and Latin stories. The conventional cast includes two pairs of lovers. The opera has three acts.
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The music alternates recitatives and arias Recitatives develop the action through dialogue. Most of the dialogue is set to simple recitative. Dramatic moments use accompanied recitative. Arias are soliloquies in which a principal actor reacts to events. Duets, larger ensembles, and choruses are infrequent. The role of the orchestra, which was minimal outside of the overture, would expand over the course of the century.
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Reign of singers The aria was the primary musical ingredient in opera. Singers often made arbitrary demands of composers. Singers added embellishments and cadenzas for display. Benedetto Marcello, in Il teatro alla moda (The Fashionable Theater), satirized the contemporary operatic scene.
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New features of da capo arias Arias began to express a variety of moods. As in a concerto, the opening ritornello often introduces all of the material to be sung later. The simple melodic style of opera buffa was assimilated. Melodies are usually in four-measure units.
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Structure of the da capo aria
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Johann Adolf Hasse (1699– 1783) Biography He was the most popular and successful opera composer in Europe in the middle of the century. He spent many years in Italy and worked at the court of the elector of Saxony in Dresden. He married the celebrated Italian soprano Faustina Bordoni.
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Faustina Bordoni (1700-1781)
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Johann Adolf Hasse (1699– 1783) He is generally acknowledged as the master of opera seria. Most of his operas use Metastasio librettos. English historian Charles Burney praised his natural and elegant style. Example: “Digli ch’io son fedele” (Tell him that I am faithful) from Cleofide (1731)
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OPERA REFORM
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Opera reform Some composers wanted opera to be more natural. Structures became more flexible and often unpredictable. Da capo aria forms were modified. Composers explored varied musical resources and made greater use of recitativo obbligato and ensembles. The chorus and orchestra became more prominent. Some composers resisted singers’ demands for virtuosity.
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Opera reform Nicolò Jommelli (1714–1774) and Tommaso Traetta (1727–1779) were important figures in the reform. Both worked where French tastes were prevalent. Jommelli’s works were models for later opera seria. Traetta, combining the best of Italian and French opera, borrowed material from Rameau.
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Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714– 1787) Born to Bohemian parents, Gluck traveled throughout Europe. He became court composer at Vienna and flourished in Paris under the patronage of Marie Antoinette. His early operas are conventional. Inspired by the impresario Giacomo Durazzo, he led the reform of opera seria.
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Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714– 1787) With librettist Raniero de Calzabigi, he wrote two major operas for Vienna.
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  • Fall '07
  • Howell
  • Music, opera seria, La serva padronna

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