Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era. Born in Salzburg, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, Mozart was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position, he chose to stay in the capital. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies and operas, portions of the Requiem, unfinished at the time of his early death at the age of 35; the circumstances of his death have been much mythologized. He composed more than 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber and choral music, he is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, his influence is profound on subsequent Western art music.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed his own early works in the shadow of Mozart, Joseph Haydn wrote: "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years". Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on 27 January 1756 to Leopold Mozart and Anna Maria, née Pertl, at 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg; this was the capital of the Archbishopric of Salzburg, an ecclesiastic principality in what is now Austria part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was the youngest of seven children, his elder sister was Maria Anna Mozart, nicknamed "Nannerl". Mozart was baptised the day at St. Rupert's Cathedral in Salzburg; the baptismal record gives his name in Latinized form, as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. He called himself "Wolfgang Amadè Mozart" as an adult, but his name had many variants. Leopold Mozart, a native of Augsburg, was a minor composer and an experienced teacher. In 1743, he was appointed as fourth violinist in the musical establishment of Count Leopold Anton von Firmian, the ruling Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg.
Four years he married Anna Maria in Salzburg. Leopold became the orchestra's deputy Kapellmeister in 1763. During the year of his son's birth, Leopold published a violin textbook, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, which achieved success; when Nannerl was 7, she began keyboard lessons with her father, while her three-year-old brother looked on. Years after her brother's death, she reminisced: He spent much time at the clavier, picking out thirds, which he was striking, his pleasure showed that it sounded good.... In the fourth year of his age his father, for a game as it were, began to teach him a few minuets and pieces at the clavier.... He could play it faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, keeping in time.... At the age of five, he was composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down; these early pieces, K. 1–5, were recorded in the Nannerl Notenbuch. There is some scholarly debate about whether Mozart was four or five years old when he created his first musical compositions, though there is little doubt that Mozart composed his first three pieces of music within a few weeks of each other: K. 1a, 1b, 1c.
In his early years, Wolfgang's father was his only teacher. Along with music, he taught academic subjects. Solomon notes that, while Leopold was a devoted teacher to his children, there is evidence that Mozart was keen to progress beyond what he was taught, his first ink-spattered composition and his precocious efforts with the violin were of his own initiative, came as a surprise to Leopold, who gave up composing when his son's musical talents became evident. While Wolfgang was young, his family made several European journeys in which he and Nannerl performed as child prodigies; these began with an exhibition in 1762 at the court of Prince-elector Maximilian III of Bavaria in Munich, at the Imperial Courts in Vienna and Prague. A long concert tour followed, spanning three and a half years, taking the family to the courts of Munich, Paris, The Hague, again to Paris, back home via Zurich and Munich. During this trip, Wolfgang met a number of musicians and acquainted himself with the works of other composers.
A important influence was Johann Christian Bach, whom he visited in London in 1764 and 1765. When he was eight years old, Mozart wrote his first symphony, most of, transcribed by his father; the family trips were difficult, travel conditions were primitive. They had to wait for invitations and reimbursement from the nobility, they endured long, near-fatal illnesses far from home: first Leopold both children; the family again went to Vienna in late 1767 and remained there until December 1768. After one year in Salzburg and Wolfgang set off for Italy, leaving Anna Maria and Nannerl at home; this tour lasted from December 1769 to March 1771. As with earlier journeys, Leopold wanted to display his son's abilities as a performer and a maturing composer. Wolfgang met Josef Mysliveček and Giovanni Battista Martini in Bologna, was accepted as a member of the famous Accademia Filarmonica. In Rome, he heard Gregorio Allegri's Miserere twice in performance, in the Sistine Chapel, wrote it out from memory, thus producing the first unauthorized copy of this guarded property of the Vatican.
In Milan, Mozart wrote the opera Mitridate, re di Ponto, performed with success. This led to further oper
The Flying Dutchman (opera)
The Flying Dutchman, WWV 63, is a German-language opera, with libretto and music by Richard Wagner. Wagner claimed in his 1870 autobiography Mein Leben that he had been inspired to write the opera following a stormy sea crossing he made from Riga to London in July and August 1839. In his 1843 Autobiographic Sketch, Wagner acknowledged he had taken the story from Heinrich Heine's retelling of the legend in his 1833 satirical novel The Memoirs of Mister von Schnabelewopski; the central theme is redemption through love. Wagner conducted the premiere at the Königliches Hoftheater in Dresden in 1843; this work shows early attempts at operatic styles that would characterise his music dramas. In Der fliegende Holländer Wagner uses a number of leitmotivs associated with the characters and themes; the leitmotifs are all introduced in the overture, which begins with a well-known ocean or storm motif before moving into the Dutchman and Senta motifs. Wagner wrote the work to be performed without intermission – an example of his efforts to break with tradition – and, while today's opera houses sometimes still follow this directive, it is performed in a three-act version.
By the beginning of 1839, the now 26-year-old Richard Wagner was employed as a conductor at the Court Theatre in Riga. His extravagant lifestyle plus the retirement from the stage of his actress wife, Minna Planer, caused him to run up huge debts that he was unable to repay. Wagner was writing Rienzi and hatched a plan to flee his creditors in Riga, escape to Paris via London and make his fortune by putting Rienzi on to the stage of the Paris Opéra. However, this plan turned to disaster: his passport having been seized by the authorities on behalf of his creditors, he and Minna had to make a dangerous and illegal crossing over the Prussian border, during which Minna suffered a miscarriage. Boarding the ship Thetis, whose captain had agreed to take them without passports, their sea journey was hindered by storms and high seas; the ship at one point took refuge in the Norwegian fjords at Tvedestrand, a trip, expected to take eight days delivered Wagner to London three weeks after leaving Riga.
Wagner's experience of Paris was disastrous. He was unable to get work as a conductor, the Opéra did not want to produce Rienzi; the Wagners were reduced to poverty, relying on handouts from friends and from the little income that Wagner could make writing articles on music and copying scores. Wagner hit on the idea of a one-act opera on the theme of the Flying Dutchman, which he hoped might be performed before a ballet at the Opéra; the voyage through the Norwegian reefs made a wonderful impression on my imagination. Wagner wrote the first prose draft of the story in Paris early in May 1840, basing the story on Heinrich Heine's satire "The Memoirs of Mister von Schnabelewopski" published in Der Salon in 1834. In Heine's tale, the narrator watches a performance of a fictitious stage play on the theme of the sea captain cursed to sail forever for blasphemy. Heine introduces the character as a Wandering Jew of the ocean, added the device taken up so vigorously by Wagner in this, many subsequent operas: the Dutchman can only be redeemed by the love of a faithful woman.
In Heine's version, this is presented as a means for ironic humour. By the end of May 1841 Wagner had completed the poem as he preferred to call it. Composition of the music had begun during May to July of the previous year, 1840, when Wagner wrote Senta's Ballad, the Norwegian Sailors' song in act 3 and the subsequent Phantom song of the Dutchman's crew in the same scene; these were composed for an audition at the Paris Opéra, along with the sketch of the plot. Wagner sold the sketch to the Director of the Opéra, Léon Pillet, for 500 francs, but was unable to convince him that the music was worth anything. Wagner composed the rest of the Der Fliegende Holländer during the summer of 1841, with the Overture being written last, by November 1841 the orchestration of the score was complete. While this score was designed to be played continuously in a single act, Wagner divided the piece into a three-act work. In doing so, however, he did not alter the music but interrupted transitions, crafted to flow seamlessly.
In his original draft Wagner set the action in Scotland, but he changed the location to Norway shortly before the first production staged in Dresden and conducted by himself in January 1843. In his essay "A Communication to My Friends" in 1851, Wagner claimed that The Dutchman represented a new start for him: "From here begins my career as poet, my farewell to the mere concoctor of opera-texts." Indeed, to this day the opera is the earliest of Wagner's works to be performed at the Bayreuth Festival, and, at least for that theatre, marks the start of the mature Wagner canon. Der fliegende Holländer is scored for the following instruments: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass tuba timpani harp 1st and 2nd violins, violas and double basseson-stage 3 piccolos, 6 horns, tam tam, wind machine Place: On the coast of Norway On his homeward journey, the sea captain Daland is compelled by stormy weather to seek a port of refuge near Sandwike in southern Norway.
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of a fictional libertine and seducer, it was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater, now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787. Da Ponte's libretto was billed as a dramma giocoso, a common designation of its time that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy and supernatural elements. A staple of the standard operatic repertoire, Don Giovanni for the five seasons 2011/12 through 2015/16 was ninth on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide, it has proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers. The opera was commissioned as a result of the overwhelming success of Mozart's trip to Prague in January and February 1787; the subject matter may have been chosen in consideration of the long history of Don Juan operas in Prague.
The libretto of Lorenzo Da Ponte was based on a libretto by Giovanni Bertati for the opera Don Giovanni Tenorio, first performed in Venice early in 1787, although he was loath to admit this in memoirs written decades later. Some of the most important elements that he copied were the idea of opening the drama with the murder of the Commendatore and the lack of a specification of Seville as the setting, customary in the tradition of Don Juan dramas since the appearance of the prototype Don Juan drama El burlador de Sevilla by Tirso de Molina, written in the early 17th century. For Bertati, the setting was Villena, whereas Da Ponte's libretto only specifies a "city in Spain". According to some sources, Giacomo Casanova assisted in the writing. Don Giovanni was to have been performed on 14 October 1787 for a visit to Prague of the Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, niece of the Emperor Joseph II, her new husband, Prince Anthony of Saxony; the score was completed on 28 or 29 October 1787 after Da Ponte was recalled to Vienna to work on another opera.
Reports about the last-minute completion of the overture conflict. More it was completed the day before, in light of the fact that Mozart recorded the completion of the opera on 28 October; the score calls for double woodwinds, two horns, two trumpets, three trombones, basso continuo for the recitatives, the usual string section. The composer specified occasional special musical effects. For the ballroom scene at the end of the first act, Mozart calls for two onstage ensembles to play separate dance music in synchronization with the pit orchestra, each of the three groups playing in its own metre, accompanying the dancing of the principal characters. In act 2, Giovanni is seen to play the mandolin, accompanied by pizzicato strings. In the same act, two of the Commendatore's interventions are accompanied by a wind chorale of oboes, clarinets and trombones; the opera was first performed on 29 October 1787 in Prague under its full title of Il dissoluto punito ossia il Don Giovanni – Dramma giocoso in due atti.
The work was rapturously received, as was true of Mozart's work in Prague. The Prager Oberpostamtzeitung reported, "Connoisseurs and musicians say that Prague has never heard the like," and "the opera … is difficult to perform." The Provincialnachrichten of Vienna reported, "Herr Mozart conducted in person and was welcomed joyously and jubilantly by the numerous gathering." Mozart supervised the Vienna premiere of the work, which took place on 7 May 1788. For this production, he wrote two new arias with corresponding recitatives – Don Ottavio's aria "Dalla sua pace", Elvira's aria "In quali eccessi... Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata" – and the duet between Leporello and Zerlina "Per queste tue manine", he made some cuts in the Finale in order to make it shorter and more incisive, the most important of, the section where Anna and Ottavio, Elvira and Masetto, Leporello reveal their plans for the future. In order to connect "Ah, certo è l'ombra che l'incontrò" directly to the moral of the story "Questo è il fin di chi fa mal", Mozart composed a different version of "Resti dunque quel birbon fra Proserpina e Pluton!".
These cuts are seldom performed in theatres or recordings. The opera's final ensemble was omitted until the early 20th century, a tradition that began early on. According to the 19th-century Bohemian memoirist Wilhelm Kuhe, the final ensemble was only presented at the first performance in Prague never heard again during the original run. It
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery and sometimes dance or ballet; the performance is given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor. Opera is a key part of the Western classical music tradition. Understood as an sung piece, in contrast to a play with songs, opera has come to include numerous genres, including some that include spoken dialogue such as musical theater, Singspiel and Opéra comique. In traditional number opera, singers employ two styles of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style and self-contained arias; the 19th century saw the rise of the continuous music drama. Opera originated in Italy at the end of the 16th century and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Heinrich Schütz in Germany, Jean-Baptiste Lully in France, Henry Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century.
In the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe, attracting foreign composers such as George Frideric Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Christoph Willibald Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s; the most renowned figure of late 18th-century opera is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comic operas The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, as well as Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Magic Flute, landmarks in the German tradition. The first third of the 19th century saw the high point of the bel canto style, with Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini all creating works that are still performed, it saw the advent of Grand Opera typified by the works of Auber and Meyerbeer. The mid-to-late 19th century was a golden age of opera and dominated by Giuseppe Verdi in Italy and Richard Wagner in Germany; the popularity of opera continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Giacomo Puccini and Richard Strauss in the early 20th century.
During the 19th century, parallel operatic traditions emerged in central and eastern Europe in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism and Minimalism. With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso and Maria Callas became known to much wider audiences that went beyond the circle of opera fans. Since the invention of radio and television, operas were performed on these mediums. Beginning in 2006, a number of major opera houses began to present live high-definition video transmissions of their performances in cinemas all over the world. Since 2009, complete performances are live streamed; the words of an opera are known as the libretto. Some composers, notably Wagner, have written their own libretti. Traditional opera referred to as "number opera", consists of two modes of singing: recitative, the plot-driving passages sung in a style designed to imitate and emphasize the inflections of speech, aria in which the characters express their emotions in a more structured melodic style.
Vocal duets and other ensembles occur, choruses are used to comment on the action. In some forms of opera, such as singspiel, opéra comique and semi-opera, the recitative is replaced by spoken dialogue. Melodic or semi-melodic passages occurring in the midst of, or instead of, are referred to as arioso; the terminology of the various kinds of operatic voices is described in detail below. During both the Baroque and Classical periods, recitative could appear in two basic forms, each of, accompanied by a different instrumental ensemble: secco recitative, sung with a free rhythm dictated by the accent of the words, accompanied only by basso continuo, a harpsichord and a cello. Over the 18th century, arias were accompanied by the orchestra. By the 19th century, accompagnato had gained the upper hand, the orchestra played a much bigger role, Wagner revolutionized opera by abolishing all distinction between aria and recitative in his quest for what Wagner termed "endless melody". Subsequent composers have tended to follow Wagner's example, though some, such as Stravinsky in his The Rake's Progress have bucked the trend.
The changing role of the orchestra in opera is described in more detail below. The Italian word opera means "work", both in the sense of the labour done and the result produced; the Italian word derives from the Latin opera, a singular noun meaning "work" and the plural of the noun opus. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Italian word was first used in the sense "composition in which poetry and music are combined" in 1639. Dafne by Jacopo Peri was the earliest composition considered opera, it was writt
Idomeneo, re di Creta ossia Ilia e Idamante is an Italian language opera seria by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The libretto was adapted by Giambattista Varesco from a French text by Antoine Danchet, set to music by André Campra as Idoménée in 1712. Mozart and Varesco were commissioned in 1780 by Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria for a court carnival, he chose the subject, though it might have been Mozart. The work premiered on 29 January 1781 at the Cuvilliés Theatre in Germany; the libretto draws inspiration from Metastasio in its overall layout, the type of character development, the poetic language used in the various numbers and the secco and stromentato recitatives. The style of the choruses and ballets is French, the shipwreck scene towards the end of act I is identical to the structure and dramatic working-out of a similar scene in Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride; the sacrifice and oracle scenes are similar to Gluck's Iphigénie en Alceste. Kurt Kramer has suggested that Varesco was familiar with Calzabigi and therefore the work of Gluck the latter's Alceste.
It is thanks to Mozart, that this mixture of French styles moves away from Gluck and France and returns to its more Italian roots. It was first performed at the Cuvilliés Theatre of the Munich Residenz on 29 January 1781, under the musical direction of its 25-year-old composer; the opera owed much of its success at its first performance to the set designs: a notice in the Munich press did not mention Mozart by name but said: "The author and translator are all natives of Salzburg. Idomeneo was Mozart's first mature opera. With it he demonstrated a mastery of orchestral color, accompanied recitatives, melodic line. Mozart fought with the librettist, the court chaplain Varesco, making large cuts and changes down to specific words and vowels disliked by the singers. Idomeneo was performed three times in Munich. In 1781 Mozart considered revisions that would have brought the work closer into line with Gluck's style. A concert performance was given in 1786 at the Palais Auersperg in Vienna. For this, Mozart wrote some new music, made some cuts, changed Idamante from a castrato to a tenor.
The British premiere was given by the amateur Glasgow Grand Opera Society in 1934. The first performance in the United States was produced by Boris Goldovsky at the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood during the summer of 1947. Today Idomeneo is part of the standard operatic repertoire. There are several recordings of it, it is performed. In 2006 there was a controversy over the cancelling of a 2003 production directed by Hans Neuenfels at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; the approach of the 150th anniversary of Idomeneo's premiere placed some major European opera houses in a quandary: commemorative performances of so magnificent and important a score seemed obligatory, but, at the same time, how dared they mount an opera that 1930/31 audiences were bound to reject as hopelessly unstageworthy? The solution hit on in Munich and Vienna was to have Idomeneo adapted for modern tastes, but to show due reverence to Mozart's genius by entrusting the adaptations to famous twentieth-century opera composers with impeccable credentials as Mozarteans.
Thus Munich commissioned an Idomeneo revision from Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, performed in 1931, the same year the Vienna State Opera presented a distinctively interventionist version of the score by Richard Strauss. For his adaptation of Idomeneo, Strauss employed a German libretto by Lothar Wallerstein, a translation of the original Italian libretto, but with some changes to reflect the rearranging of the music. Strauss replaced about 1/3 of Mozart's score with some of his own music, rearranged much of the music left behind. For example, Ilia's opening aria "Padre, addio!" is intact with a few changes to the long introductory recitative, but when Idamante enters, he sings Mozart's "Non temer amato bene", K. 490, instead of "Non ho colpa". A few major changes to the plot were made as well, such as changing princess Elettra to priestess Ismene. Critics have noted that Strauss's additions contain an interesting blend of the classical style of composition and Strauss's own characteristic sound. In 1984, New York's Mostly Mozart Festival presented Strauss's version with Jerry Hadley in the title role, Delores Ziegler as Idamante, Alessandra Marc as Ismene.
The instrumentation is: Woodwinds: piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons. B clarinets are used in No. 15 and No. 19. Brass: 4 horns, 2 trumpets in D, 3 trombones (only accompanying the off-stage voice o
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi. Donizetti was born in Bergamo in Lombardy. Although he did not come from a musical background, at an early age he was taken under the wing of composer Simon Mayr who had enrolled him by means of a full scholarship in a school which he had set up. There he received detailed training in the arts of counterpoint. Mayr was instrumental in obtaining a place for the young man at the Bologna Academy, where, at the age of 19, he wrote his first one-act opera, the comedy Il Pigmalione, which may never have been performed during his lifetime. Over the course of his career, Donizetti wrote 70 operas. An offer in 1822 from Domenico Barbaja, the impresario of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, which followed the composer's ninth opera, led to his move to that city and his residency there which lasted until the production of Caterina Cornaro in January 1844.
In all, Naples presented 51 of Donizetti's operas. Before 1830, success came with his comic operas, the serious ones failing to attract significant audiences. However, his first notable success came with an opera seria, Zoraida di Granata, presented in 1822 in Rome. In 1830, when Anna Bolena was premiered, Donizetti made a major impact on the Italian and international opera scene and this shifted the balance of success away from comedic operas, although after that date, his best-known works included comedies such as L'elisir d'amore and Don Pasquale. Significant historical dramas did succeed. Up to that point, all of his operas had been set to Italian libretti. Donizetti found himself chafing against the censorship limitations which existed in Italy. From about 1836, he became interested in working in Paris, where he saw much greater freedom to choose subject matter, in addition to receiving larger fees and greater prestige. Starting in 1838 with an offer from the Paris Opéra for two new works, he spent a considerable part of the following ten years in that city, set several operas to French texts as well as overseeing staging of his Italian works.
The first opera was a French version of the then-unperformed Poliuto which, in April 1840, was revised to become Les martyrs. Two new operas were given in Paris at that time; as the 1840s progressed, Donizetti moved between Naples, Rome and Vienna, continuing to compose and stage his own operas as well as those of other composers. But from around 1843, severe illness began to limit his activities. By early 1846 he was obliged to be confined to an institution for the mentally ill and, by late 1847, friends had him moved back to Bergamo, where he died in April 1848; the youngest of three sons, Donizetti was born in 1797 in Bergamo's Borgo Canale quarter, located just outside the city walls. His family was poor and had no tradition of music, his father Andrea being the caretaker of the town pawnshop. Simone Mayr, a German composer of internationally successful operas, had become maestro di cappella at Bergamo's principal church in 1802, he founded the Lezioni Caritatevoli school in Bergamo in 1805 for the purpose of providing musical training, including classes in literature, beyond what choirboys ordinarily received up until the time that their voices broke.
In 1807, Andrea Donizetti attempted to enroll both his sons, but the elder, was considered too old. Gaetano was accepted. While not successful as a choirboy during the first three trial months of 1807, Mayr was soon reporting that Gaetano "surpasses all the others in musical progress" and he was able to persuade the authorities that the young boy's talents were worthy of keeping him in the school, he remained there for nine years, until 1815. However, as Donizetti scholar William Ashbrook notes, in 1809 he was threatened with having to leave because his voice was changing. In 1810 he applied for and was accepted by the local art school, the Academia Carrara, but it is not known whether he attended classes. In 1811, Mayr once again intervened. Having written both libretto and music for a "pasticcio-farsa", Il piccolo compositore di musica, as the final concert of the academic year, Mayr cast five young students, among them his young pupil Donizetti as "the little composer"; as Ashbrook states, this "was nothing less than Mayr's argument that Donizetti be allowed to continue his musical studies".
The piece was performed on 13 September 1811 and included the composer character stating the following: Ah, by Bacchus, with this aria / I'll have universal applause. / They'll say to me, "Bravo, Maestro! / I, with a sufficiently modest air, / Will go around with my head bent... / I’ll have eulogies in the newspaper / I know how to make myself immortal. In reply to the chiding which comes from the other four characters in the piece after the "little composer"'s boasts, in the drama the "composer" responds with: I have a vast mind, swift talent, ready fantasy—and I'm a thunderbolt at composing; the performance included a waltz which Donizetti played and for which he received credit in the libretto. In singing this piece, all five young me
Carmen is an opera in four acts by French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée; the opera was first performed by the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 3 March 1875, where its breaking of conventions shocked and scandalized its first audiences. Bizet died after the 33rd performance, unaware that the work would achieve international acclaim within the following ten years. Carmen has since become one of the most popular and performed operas in the classical canon; the opera is written in the genre of opéra comique with musical numbers separated by dialogue. It is set in southern Spain and tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier, seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy Carmen. José abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, yet loses Carmen's love to the glamorous torero Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage; the depictions of proletarian life and lawlessness, the tragic death of the main character on stage, broke new ground in French opera and were controversial.
After the premiere, most reviews were critical, the French public was indifferent. Carmen gained its reputation through a series of productions outside France, was not revived in Paris until 1883. Thereafter, it acquired popularity at home and abroad. Commentators have asserted that Carmen forms the bridge between the tradition of opéra comique and the realism or verismo that characterised late 19th-century Italian opera; the music of Carmen has since been acclaimed for brilliance of melody, harmony and orchestration, for the skill with which Bizet musically represented the emotions and suffering of his characters. After the composer's death, the score was subject to significant amendment, including the introduction of recitative in place of the original dialogue; the opera has been recorded many times since the first acoustical recording in 1908, the story has been the subject of many screen and stage adaptations. In the Paris of the 1860s, despite being a Prix de Rome laureate, Bizet struggled to get his stage works performed.
The capital's two main state-funded opera houses—the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique—followed conservative repertoires that restricted opportunities for young native talent. Bizet's professional relationship with Léon Carvalho, manager of the independent Théâtre Lyrique company, enabled him to bring to the stage two full-scale operas, Les pêcheurs de perles and La jolie fille de Perth, but neither enjoyed much public success; when artistic life in Paris resumed after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, Bizet found wider opportunities for the performance of his works. Although this failed and was withdrawn after 11 performances, it led to a further commission from the theatre, this time for a full-length opera for which Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy would provide the libretto. Halévy, who had written the text for Bizet's student opera Le docteur Miracle, was a cousin of Bizet's wife, Geneviève. Bizet was delighted with the Opéra-Comique commission, expressed to his friend Edmund Galabert his satisfaction in "the absolute certainty of having found my path".
The subject of the projected work was a matter of discussion between composer and the Opéra-Comique management. It was Bizet. Mérimée's story is a blend of travelogue and adventure yarn inspired by the writer's lengthy travels in Spain in 1830, had been published in 1845 in the journal Revue des deux Mondes, it may have been influenced in part by Alexander Pushkin's 1824 poem "The Gypsies", a work Mérimée had translated into French. Bizet may first have encountered the story during his Rome sojourn of 1858–60, since his journals record Mérimée as one of the writers whose works he absorbed in those years. Cast details are as provided by Mina Curtiss from vocal score; the stage designs are credited to Charles Ponchard. Place: Seville and surrounding hills Time: Around 1820 A square, in Seville. On the right, a door to the tobacco factory. At the back, a bridge. On the left, a guardhouse. A group of soldiers relaxes in the square, waiting for the changing of the guard and commenting on the passers-by.
Micaëla appears, seeking José. Moralès tells her that "José invites her to wait with them, she declines. José arrives with the new guard, greeted and imitated by a crowd of urchins; as the factory bell rings, the cigarette girls emerge and exchange banter with young men in the crowd. Carmen sings her provocative habanera on the untameable nature of love; the men plead with her to choose a lover, after some teasing she throws a flower to Don José, who thus far has been ignoring her but is now annoyed by her insolence. As the women go back to t