Nationalistic Opera

Sep 21, 2005 11:15 pm
I think there are national styles that make it fairly easy to differentiate. Mozart crossed over languages very often but Bastien e Bastienne is still a German singspiel written in Italian and Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe is still an Italian opera buffa written in German.

Verdi is another good example. The differences between his French and Italian operas (even versions of the same opera) are pretty clear, even as he adapts and changes what a French or Italian opera is supposed to be.

This gets fuzzier as strong national opera traditions fade away in the later 20th Century, but it still seems easy to differentiate Weill’s German from American works. I would hesitate to assign a nationality to Oedipus Rex (written in Latin, no less) although Rake’s Progress seems English in many respects. Menotti found a middle ground between the Italian and American operatic traditions.

I am not really sure if national opera traditions still exist today. The forms are pretty cosmopolitan as is the musical language in most cases.


~ by severalfourmany on September 21, 2005.

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