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The Early Baroque, the Beginnings of Opera
Why cause words to be sung by four of five voices so that they cannot be distinguished,
when the ancients aroused the strongest passions by means of a single voice supported by a lyre.
—Florentine critic, 1581
the baroque period
What's different about the baroque period?
What's this new thing called opera?
new trends in the baroque
understand what distinguishes music of the baroque from music of the renaissance
ostinato (ground bass)
watch lecture 10 (in multiple parts for quicker download)
review previous chapters, as necessary
read textbook, Chapter 13-15
Audio / Video lecture
click lecture segments below in sequence
presented in several segments to reduce download time
total lecture time: approx. one hour 15 minutes (all segments included)
Video Timeline for the baroque (very short)
some important dates and events, accompanied by music generally applicable to the period
To give you a better perspective on the period and its composers, I might suggest that you watch this at least twice—
• once before the first lecture covering the period
• once more after the last lecture covering the period.
Baroque Opera Part 2
Orpheus sings of his happiness that he is now married to Euridice
Behold, I return to you,
dear woods and beloved hills,
made blissful through that sun
through which alone my nights have turned to day.
Orpheus laments Euridice's loss as he learns that she has been bitten by a snake
Thou art dead, my life, and I am still breathing?
You’ve departed from me, nevermore to return?
No, if my verses have any power at all,
I will surely go down to the deepest abysses
and having melted the heart of the King of Shadows [Pluto],
lead you back with me to see the stars. Otherwise,
I will remain with you in the company of death.
Possente spirto - Orpheus' plea to the gods to allow him to enter Hades and bring Euridice back
Mighty spirit and powerful divinity,
without whom the souls freed from their bodies
hope in vain to reach the other bank of the river Styx.
I am not alive, not after the death of my beloved wife,
my heart is no longer with me,
and without a heart, how can it be that I live?
I am Orpheus, who follows the steps of Euridice
through these dismal plains,
to which no mortal has access.
Pluto, only thou, noble god, can aid me.
Fear not— It is only the sweet strings
of my golden lyre that I use as a weapon
against the stern souls to whom it is vain to implore.
New trends of the Baroque
The nature of opera