The Emergence of Opera in the Seventeenth Century and the Quintessential Role that Greek and Roman Theatre Played in its Development.

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Lisa Abbott


It is uncommon for historians to have specific information, including documentation, of the emergence of new forms of art. Opera is one of the few art forms that can be traced back to a specific group, 'La Camerata'. Opera is a mixed theatrical genre, a combination of drama, music, and scenic spectacle, and the balance of those constituent elements has always been a source of its vitality. Opera emerging from the turn of the seventeenth shares many parallels with its theatrical predecessors showcasing a stronger bond combining theatrical humanist productions to be accompanied by music. Opera drammatica born form adding performance art to Italian intermedis became popular solidifying the new genre of music, influencing theaters, and introducing the first opera singers to the profession. There is no doubt that opera drammatica owes its creation to Greek tragedy. However, it is worth mentioning that in the era of early opera Europe resembled a Roman imperial society. During the Renaissance, education was based around the study of Latin and Roman classics. There is still speculation among theorists of whether the Florentine Camerata should be credited with the birth of opera, but it is undoubtedly true that the birthplace of opera is seventeenth century Florence. However, it is undeniable that their appreciation for Greek Drama led to what would be the foundation of early opera. This appreciation coupled with inventive musical techniques of composers like Peri, Monteverdi, and Cinzio allowed for opera in the seventeenth century to flourish in the musical community.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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