opera seria

opera seria
/op"euhr euh sear"ee euh, op"reuh/; It. /aw"pe rddah se"rddyah/, pl. opera serias, operas seria, It. opere serie /aw"pe rdde se"rddye/.
Italian dramatic opera of the 18th century based typically on a classical subject and characterized by extensive use of the aria da capo and recitative.
[1875-80; < It: lit., serious opera]

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▪ Italian music
      (Italian: “serious opera”), style of Italian opera dominant in 18th-century Europe. It emerged in the late 17th century, notably in the work of Alessandro Scarlatti and other composers working in Naples, and is thus frequently called Neapolitan opera. The primary musical emphasis of opera seria was on the solo voice and on bel canto, the florid vocal style of the period. Chorus and orchestra played a circumscribed role. High voices were cultivated, both in women and in the castrati, or eunuch sopranos. Music and text were divided into recitative (simply accompanied dialogue sung with speech rhythms), which advanced the dramatic action, and arias, solos that reflected a character's feelings and also served as vehicles for vocal virtuosity. Arias characteristically took the da capo form (ABA), the first section (A) being repeated after the B section, but with improvised embellishments.

      Apostolo Zeno and Pietro Metastasio were the leading masters of the required libretto style, which presented characters from classical mythology or history and avoided diversionary comic episodes. Among the examples of opera seria are Rinaldo (1711), by George Frideric Handel, Demofoonte (1764), by Niccolò Jommelli, Didone abbandonata (1725; Dido Abandoned), by Nicola Porpora, and Artaserse (1730), by Johann Adolf Hasse.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • opera seria — ● opera seria nom masculin invariable (mot italien) Opéra dramatique, par opposition à l opéra bouffe. (On dit aussi grand opéra ou opéra sérieux.) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • opera seria — [ō̂′pe rä se′rē ä; ] E [ äp΄ə rə ser′ē ə, äp′ər əsir′ē ə] n. [It, serious opera] 18th cent. opera characterized by the stylized treatment of mythological or classical subjects and the extensive use of arias …   English World dictionary

  • Opera seria — A caricature of a performance of Handel s Flavio, featuring three of the best known opera seria singers of their day: Senesino on the left, diva Francesca Cuzzoni in the centre, and art loving castrato Gaetano Berenstadt on the right. Opera seria …   Wikipedia

  • Opera seria — Karikatur einer Aufführung von Händels Flavio: drei der damals berühmtesten Opernsänger : Senesino links, die Diva Francesca Cuzzoni in der Mitte und rechts Gaetano Berenstadt . Opera seria (Plural: „opere serie“; auch „ …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • opera seria —    (op eh rah SEH ree ah) [Italian] An 18th century dramatic or serious Italian opera, usually in three acts; Mozart’s Idomeneo is an example.    The opera seria of the early 1600s was an attempt to revive the spirit of Greek tragedy …   Dictionary of foreign words and phrases

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