The Culture of Opera Buffa in Mozart's Vienna

The Culture of Opera Buffa in Mozart's Vienna : A Poetics of Entertainment

4.5 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?

Description

Mozart's comic operas are among the masterworks of Western civilization, and yet the musical environment in which Mozart and his librettist Lorenzo da Ponte wrote these now-popular operas has received little critical attention. In this richly detailed book, Mary Hunter offers a sweeping, synthetic view of opera buffa in the lively theatrical world of late-eighteenth-century Vienna. Opera buffa (Italian-language comic opera) persistently entertained audiences at a time when Joseph was striving for a German national theater. Hunter attributes opera buffa's success to its ability to provide "sheer" pleasure and hence explores how the genre functioned as entertainment. She argues that opera buffa, like mainstream film today, projects a social world both recognizable and distinct from reality. It raises important issues while containing them in the "merely entertaining" frame of the occasion, as well as presenting them as a series of easily identifiable dramatic and musical conventions. Exploring nearly eighty comic operas, Hunter shows how the arias and ensembles convey a multifaceted picture of the repertory's social values and habits.
In a concluding chapter, she discusses Cos" fan tutte as a work profoundly concerned with the conventions of its repertory and with the larger idea of convention itself and reveals the ways Mozart and da Ponte pointedly converse with their immediate contemporaries.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 197 x 254 x 26.92mm | 652g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 54 music examples
  • 0691058121
  • 9780691058122
  • 2,459,429

Flap copy

Mozart's comic operas are among the master-works of Western civilization, and yet the musical environment in which Mozart and his librettist Lorenzo da Ponte wrote these now-popular operas has received little critical attention. In this richly detailed book, Mary Hunter offers a sweeping, synthetic view of opera buffa in the lively theatrical world of late-eighteenth-century Vienna. Opera buffa (Italian-language comic opera) persistently entertained audiences at a time when Joseph II was striving for a German national theater. Hunter attributes opera buffa's success to the "sheer" pleasure it can provide, and hence explores how the genre functioned as entertainment. She argues that opera buffa, like mainstream film today, projects a social world both recognizable and distinct from reality. It raises important issues while containing them in the "merely entertaining" frame of the occasion, as well as presenting them as a series of easily identifiable dramatic and musical conventions.

Exploring nearly eighty comic operas, Hunter shows how the arias and ensembles convey a multifaceted picture of the repertory's social values and habits. In a concluding chapter, she discusses Cosi fan tutte as a work profoundly concerned with the conventions of its repertory and with the larger idea of convention itself and reveals the ways Mozart and da Ponte pointedly converse with their immediate contemporaries.
show more

Table of contents

Preface and AcknowledgmentsEditorial PoliciesAbbreviationsIntroduction3Pt. 1Opera Buffa as EntertainmentCh. 1Opera Buffa as Sheer Pleasure27Ch. 2Opera Buffa's Conservative Frameworks52Ch. 3Opera Buffa's Social Reversals71Pt. 2The Closed Musical Numbers of Opera Buffa and Their Social ImplicationsCh. 4Arias: Some Issues95Ch. 5Class and Gender in Arias: Five Aria Types110Ch. 6Ensembles156Ch. 7Beginning and Ending Together: Introduzioni and Finales196Pt. 3Cosi Fan Tutte le Opere? A Masterwork in ContextCh. 8Cosi fan tutte in Conversation247Ch. 9Cosi fan tutte and Convention273App. 1Operas Consulted299App. 2Musical Forms in Opera Buffa Arias305App. 3Plot Summaries for I finti eredi, Le gare generose, and L'incognita perseguitata309Works Cited313Index323
show more

Review quote

Winner of the 2000 Otto Kinkeldey Prize for best musicological book of 1999, American Musicological Society Co-Winner of the 2000 Otto Kinkeldey Award, American Musicological Society "Although opera buffa and Mozart's opera in general have been studied by many scholars and from many points of view, Hunter's work, based on such a large bosy of scores, provides new proofs and a unique focus on the entertainment value of the works."--Choice "A major addition to a central topic in Mozart studies."--Julian Rushton, Times Literary Supplement "Indisputably the most comprehensive discussion yet published on the repertory of Viennese opera that forms the context for Mozart's comic operas."--Eighteenth-Century Studies "Hunter's work establishes a pattern for interpreting opera that will surely be imitated. If her thoroughly systematic approach to unraveling meaning in opera is followed in similarly uncompromising, contextual analysis, there is much of eighteenth-century opera, of all kinds and locations, that we will yet learn. This is a marvelous beginning."--Dale E. Monoson, Current Musicology
show more

About Mary Hunter

Mary Hunter is Professor of Music at Bowdoin College. She is the editor, with James Webster, of Opera Buffa in Mozart's Vienna.
show more

Rating details

6 ratings
4.5 out of 5 stars
5 50% (3)
4 50% (3)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X