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Analyzing Opera

This article contains answers to several questions that are connected with the theory of opera and opera history. The questions cover the difference between the training of male and female singers, why Strauss`s Salome is an example of Musikdrama, and the comparison of two twentieth-century operas with novelties.

Keywords: music, opera, twentieth century, classical, Strauss

Opera

  1. The opera “Life with an Idiot” by Alfred Schnittke is a product of the theater of the absurd, but this scenario is constructed opposite to the scenario of Denisov`s “Foam of Days.” Denisov’s overall structure of the story is quite similar to the classical, and the same “La Traviata”: the two people meet, fall in love, and get married, but the circumstances prevent them from being together, and in the end the main heroine dies. Theater of the absurd techniques depict special feelings and situations that strengthen or weaken the final effect. In Schnittke’s opera, the absurdity is the basis of the plot. The protagonist takes the education for idiots, and if we assume that such a fact at all can take place, in this sense the development of opera, is even, to some extent, naturalistic.
  2. Unlike male singers, female singers training took place wholly outside the institutions. It is a major difference between them. If a young boy with a beautiful voice had the possibility of being taken in as a choirboy in one of the many schools that existed in Italy, a woman had to address to private teachers. In female case, her teacher also became her mentor, her “agent,” and a full partner in both her artistic and financial destiny (Bianconi, & Pestelli, 359). The young man was being trained to be a good “domestic” singer, and his literary training was secondary. It was a relevant example when a young female singer was requested to perform in an opera being put on in Mantua when she had been studying music only for a few months. On her return from a successful debut, she was immediately offered a chance to teach another young female singer.
  3. “Salome” – the first opera by Strauss, which contained an original musical and dramatic style. The backgrounds of creating “Salome” related to the search for a way out of the sphere of Wagner’s concepts and instruments of demonstration (“a step forward compared to Wagner” – the statement of Strauss). However, the unquestionable features of connection with the Musikdrama of Wagner are the presence of a wide system of themes, the continuous progress of the main symphonic, and thematic. The means of musical expression of the composer was the most aggravated, embodying expressionistic drama content (Puffett, Salome, 67). Harmony reached marginal chromatic. Based on the prose, the author wanted to deliver the tone of voice. Without weakening the performance of the orchestra, Strauss does not submit its “voice”; vocal belongs to the primary point. After that, Strauss even more strengthen the party of the orchestra, making the touch-up of orchestral instruments and neutralizing tensions of Salome`s party.