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Libretto
A libretto (Italian for "booklet") is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term ''libretto'' is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet. ''Libretto'' (; plural ''libretti'' ), from Italian, is the diminutive of the word '' libro'' ("book"). Sometimes other-language equivalents are used for libretti in that language, ''livret'' for French works, ''Textbuch'' for German and ''libreto'' for Spanish. A libretto is distinct from a synopsis or scenario of the plot, in that the libretto contains all the words and stage directions, while a synopsis summarizes the plot. Some ballet historians also use the word ''libretto'' to refer to the 15 to 40 page books which were on sale to 19th century ballet audiences in Paris and contained a very detailed description of the ballet's story, scene by sc ...
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Libretto Cover Andrea Chenier
A libretto (Italian for "booklet") is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or Musical theatre, musical. The term ''libretto'' is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass (liturgy), Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet. ''Libretto'' (; plural ''libretti'' ), from Italian, is the diminutive of the word ''wiktionary:libro#Italian, libro'' ("book"). Sometimes other-language equivalents are used for libretti in that language, ''livret'' for French works, ''Textbuch'' for German and ''libreto'' for Spanish. A libretto is distinct from a synopsis or scenario of the plot, in that the libretto contains all the words and stage directions, while a synopsis summarizes the plot. Some ballet historians also use the word ''libretto'' to refer to the 15 to 40 page books which were on sale to 19th century ballet audiences in Paris and contained a ve ...
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Opera
Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor. Although musical theatre is closely related to opera, the two are considered to be distinct from one another. Opera is a key part of the Western classical music tradition. Originally understood as an entirely sung piece, in contrast to a play with songs, opera has come to include numerous genres, including some that include spoken dialogue such as ''Singspiel'' and ''Opéra comique''. In traditional number opera, singers employ two styles of sin ...
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Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini (; 3 November 1801 – 23 September 1835) was a Sicilian opera composer, who was known for his long-flowing melodic lines for which he was named "the Swan of Catania". Many years later, in 1898, Giuseppe Verdi "praised the broad curves of Bellini's melody: 'there are extremely long melodies as no-one else had ever made before'." A large amount of what is known about Bellini's life and his activities comes from surviving letters—except for a short period—which were written over his lifetime to his friend Francesco Florimo, whom he had met as a fellow student in Naples and with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship. Other sources of information come from correspondence saved by other friends and business acquaintances. Bellini was the quintessential composer of the Italian ''bel canto'' era of the early 19th century, and his work has been summed up by the London critic Tim Ashley as: ... also hugely influential, as much a ...
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Eugène Scribe
Augustin Eugène Scribe (; 24 December 179120 February 1861) was a French dramatist and librettist. He is known for writing "well-made plays" ("pièces bien faites"), a mainstay of popular theatre for over 100 years, and as the librettist of many of the most successful grand operas and opéras-comiques. Born to a middle-class Parisian family, Scribe was intended for a legal career, but was drawn to the theatre, and began writing plays while still in his teens. His early years as a playwright were unsuccessful, but from 1815 onwards he prospered. Writing, usually with one or more collaborators, he produced several hundred stage works. He wrote to entertain the public rather than educate it. Many of his plays were written in a formulaic manner which aimed at neatness of plot and focus on dramatic incident rather than naturalism, depth of characterisation or intellectual substance. For this he was much criticised by intellectuals, but the "well-made play" remained established in the ...
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical period. Despite his short life, his rapid pace of composition resulted in more than 800 works of virtually every genre of his time. Many of these compositions are acknowledged as pinnacles of the symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral repertoire. Mozart is widely regarded as among the greatest composers in the history of Western music, with his music admired for its "melodic beauty, its formal elegance and its richness of harmony and texture". Born in Salzburg, in the Holy Roman Empire, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. His father took him on a grand tour of Europe and then three trips to Italy. At 17, he was a musician at the Salzburg court b ...
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Cantata
A cantata (; ; literally "sung", past participle feminine singular of the Italian verb ''cantare'', "to sing") is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir. The meaning of the term changed over time, from the simple single-voice madrigal of the early 17th century, to the multi-voice "cantata da camera" and the "cantata da chiesa" of the later part of that century, from the more substantial dramatic forms of the 18th century to the usually sacred-texted 19th-century cantata, which was effectively a type of short oratorio. Cantatas for use in the liturgy of church services are called church cantata or sacred cantata; other cantatas can be indicated as secular cantatas. Several cantatas were, and still are, written for special occasions, such as Christmas cantatas. Christoph Graupner, Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann Sebastian Bach composed cycles of church cantatas for the occasions of the liturgical year. ...
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Daniel Auber
Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (; 29 January 178212 May 1871) was a French composer and director of the Paris Conservatoire. Born into an artistic family, Auber was at first an amateur composer before he took up writing operas professionally when the family's fortunes failed in 1820. He soon established a professional partnership with the librettist Eugène Scribe that lasted for 41 years and produced 39 operas, most of them commercial and critical successes. He is mostly associated with opéra-comique and composed 35 works in that genre. With Scribe he wrote the first French grand opera, ''La muette de Portici, La Muette de Portici'' (The Dumb Woman of Portici) in 1828, which paved the way for the large-scale works of Giacomo Meyerbeer. Auber held two important official musical posts. From 1842 to 1871 he was director of France's premier music academy, the Paris Conservatoire, which he expanded and modernised. From 1852 until the fall of the Second French Empire, Second Empire in ...
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Amilcare Ponchielli
Amilcare Ponchielli (, ; 31 August 1834 – 16 January 1886) was an Italian opera composer, best known for his opera ''La Gioconda''. He was married to the soprano Teresina Brambilla. Life and work Born in Paderno Fasolaro (now Paderno Ponchielli) near Cremona, then Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, Ponchielli won a scholarship at the age of nine to study music at the Milan Conservatory, writing his first symphony by the time he was ten years old. In 1856 he wrote his first opera—it was based on Alessandro Manzoni's great novel '' The Betrothed'' (''I promessi sposi'')—and it was as an opera composer that he eventually found fame. His early career was disappointing. Maneuvered out of a professorship at the Milan Conservatory that he had won in a competition, he took small-time jobs in small cities, and composed several operas, none successful at first. In spite of his disappointment, he gained much experience as the bandmaster (''capobanda'') in Piacenza and Cremona, arrangin ...
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Arrigo Boito
Arrigo Boito (; 24 February 1842 10 June 1918) (whose original name was Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito and who wrote essays under the anagrammatic pseudonym of Tobia Gorrio) was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, librettist and composer, best known today for his libretti, especially those for Giuseppe Verdi's last two monumental operas ''Otello'' and ''Falstaff'' (not to mention Amilcare Ponchielli's operatic masterpiece '' La Gioconda'') and his own opera ''Mefistofele''. Along with Emilio Praga and his own brother Camillo Boito, he is regarded as one of the prominent representatives of the Scapigliatura artistic movement. Biography Birthplace in Padua Born in Padua, the son of Silvestro Boito (1802–1856), an Italian painter of miniatures, who was not of noble birth but passed himself off as a nobleman, and his wife, a Polish countess, Józefina Radolińska, Boito studied music at the Milan Conservatory with Alberto Mazzucato until 1861, where a friend, Albert Viset ...
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Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet (; 25 October 18383 June 1875) was a French composer of the Romantic era. Best known for his operas in a career cut short by his early death, Bizet achieved few successes before his final work, ''Carmen'', which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertoire. During a brilliant student career at the Conservatoire de Paris, Bizet won many prizes, including the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1857. He was recognised as an outstanding pianist, though he chose not to capitalise on this skill and rarely performed in public. Returning to Paris after almost three years in Italy, he found that the main Parisian opera theatres preferred the established classical repertoire to the works of newcomers. His keyboard and orchestral compositions were likewise largely ignored; as a result, his career stalled, and he earned his living mainly by arranging and transcribing the music of others. Restless for success, he began many thea ...
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Jules Massenet
Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet (; 12 May 1842 – 13 August 1912) was a French composer of the Romantic era best known for his operas, of which he wrote more than thirty. The two most frequently staged are ''Manon'' (1884) and ''Werther'' (1892). He also composed oratorios, ballets, orchestral works, incidental music, piano pieces, songs and other music. While still a schoolboy, Massenet was admitted to France's principal music college, the Paris Conservatoire. There he studied under Ambroise Thomas, whom he greatly admired. After winning the country's top musical prize, the Prix de Rome, in 1863, he composed prolifically in many genres, but quickly became best known for his operas. Between 1867 and his death forty-five years later he wrote more than forty stage works in a wide variety of styles, from opéra-comique to grand-scale depictions of classical myths, romantic comedies, lyric dramas, as well as oratorios, cantatas and ballets. Massenet had a good sense of the th ...
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Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach (, also , , ; 20 June 18195 October 1880) was a German-born French composer, cellist and impresario of the Romantic period. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s to the 1870s, and his uncompleted opera ''The Tales of Hoffmann''. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st. ''The Tales of Hoffmann'' remains part of the standard opera repertory. Born in Cologne, the son of a synagogue cantor, Offenbach showed early musical talent. At the age of 14, he was accepted as a student at the Paris Conservatoire but found academic study unfulfilling and left after a year. From 1835 to 1855 he earned his living as a cellist, achieving international fame, and as a conductor. His ambition, however, was to compose comic pieces for the musical the ...
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