Opera In The Baroque

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Opera in the Baroque Period Opera is an aesthetic art form of the highest quality because it incorporates music, literature, acting, dance, costumes and scenery all delivered through a performance. Opera was created to unify words and tones, play and music. But what are the origins of opera as we know it today? To answer this question one has to go deep into the roots of music history, specifically the baroque period (1600 – 1750). The setting of opera is credited to a group of intellectuals to whom history has given the name of the Camerata. The Florentine Camerata was a group of humanists, musicians, poets, scientists and intellectuals who in the late Renaissance (late 16th century) period gathered to discuss and guide the trends in art, music and drama. Since the Renaissance was all about the restoration of the Golden Greek age discussions were gravitated and focused towards ancient Greek drama. However the first main obstacle encountered by the Camerata was that in those days contrapuntal music was the trend while a single melodic line was considered as an aberration. This was overcome by the construction of the recitative which is basically a single melodic line accompanied by various instruments. In 1594 the first opera was born from the collaboration of librettist Rinuccini and music by Jacopo Peri which was given the name of Dafne. The story of Dafne was steeped in ancient Greek mythology and the affairs of gods. This new art form was received with enthusiasm and it led other composers such as Caccini to write other operas. The baroque period saw opera spread like wild fire with demand coming not only from aristocratic patrons but also from newly opened public opera houses. It was not long until the first acknowledged master of baroque opera, Claudio Monteverdi composed his first opera Orfeo. This opera was a milestone and a sudden phenomenon which

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