Dramma Giocoso

Dramma Giocoso: Four Contemporary Perspectives on the Mozart/Da Ponte Operas

Julian Rushton
Stefan Rohringer
Sergio Durante
James Webster
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qdwt6
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    Dramma Giocoso
    Book Description:

    The three Mozart/Da Ponte operas offer an inexhaustible wellspring for critical reflection, possessing a complexity and equivocation common to all great humane works. They have the potential to reflect and refract whatever locus of contemporaneity may be the starting point for enquiry. Thus, even postmodern and postmillennial concerns, far from seeming irrelevant to these operas, are instead given new perspectives by them, whilst the music and the dramatic situations have the multivalency to accept each refreshed pallet of interpretation without loss of their essential character. These operas seem perennially ‘new'. In exploring the evergreen qualities of Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, this collection of studies does not shun approaches that have foundations in established theory, but refracts them through such problems as the tension between operatic tradition and psychological realism, the co-existence of multiple yet equal plots, and the antagonism between the tenets of tradition and the need for self-actualization. In exploring such themes, the authors not only illuminate new aspects of Mozart's operatic compositions, but also probe the nature of musical analysis itself.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-058-9
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. 7-10)
    Darla M. Crispin
  4. ‘BY THEIR ARIAS SHALL YE KNOW THEM’: CHARACTERIZATION IN ARIA-BASED OPERA
    (pp. 11-32)
    Julian Rushton

    When a student, and thus easily influenced, I read the first edition of Joseph Kerman’sOpera as Drama.¹ 45 years on, I still broadly agree with his dictum that in opera ‘the imaginative articulation for the drama is provided by music’.² But the music of an opera does not come into being in creative isolation, and in Mozart’s time composers had to accommodate the views of patrons; the theatre management; the poet; and, not least, the singers. From the start of Mozart’s operatic career, he liked to fit arias to singers as a tailor fits a suit of clothes.³ One...

  5. DON OTTAVIO AND THE HISTORY OF THE TENOR VOICE
    (pp. 33-58)
    Stefan Rohringer

    Most scholars regard Don Ottavio as a problematic figure. Even those who are relatively well disposed toward him and see his lack of temperament as balanced by sincerity and rationality nevertheless concede that this trade-off has its limitations. Joachim Kaiser offers an insightful view:

    Don Ottavio is also surrounded by an air of restraint, of excessive gentility – all the more pronounced in a world of sexual predators and quick-tempered, vengeance-obsessed, eccentric characters. What he sorely lacks is resolute passion. That is why this nobleman, especially when his gracious ardor is expressed with even a little less forcefulness and intensity...

  6. DON GIOVANNI THEN AND NOW: TEXT AND PERFORMANCE
    (pp. 59-90)
    Sergio Durante

    When approaching a work like Da Ponte and Mozart’sDon Giovanni, a person with any degree of historical consciousness feels a special responsibility. After all, this work has been defined as the ‘opera of all operas’ (E.T.A. Hoffmann) and, while such an evaluation represents an exaggeration, it is still a widely circulating one. We therefore approach the work with the respect due to the great masterpieces of world-literature, as we would works by Shakespeare or Dante. This attitude is perhaps a mistake – at least insofar as the quoted authors, had they a word on the matter, would probably endorse...

  7. THE ACT IV FINALE OF LE NOZZE DI FIGARO: DRAMATIC AND MUSICAL CONSTRUCTION
    (pp. 91-129)
    James Webster

    The entire institution of musical analysis is oriented conceptually towards instrumental music. (Recent studies of popular music may perhaps be an exception.) Moreover, the vast majority of analyses of instrumental music have been devoted to individual movements (or much shorter passages), and have tended to ignore both the large-scale coherence of multi-movement works, and questions of interpretation or meaning. As regards vocal music: even with respect to the privileged repertory of Mozart’s operas, most recent analytical studies have been devoted to individual numbers or sections (and to the now contested topic of ‘tonal planning’), and the majority are more nearly...

  8. PERSONALIA
    (pp. 130-134)
  9. COLOPHON
    (pp. 135-135)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 136-144)