1600 Birth of Opera in Italy
Caccini, Peri, and most importantly, Monteverdi, composed operas on Orpheus
Intermedi (intermezzi) are included in the monodic, Florentine operas
Late-1600s Arcadian neoclassical reform (NB term)
Emergence of Opera seria
Librettists Zeno and Metastasio, librettists to Charles VI (Hapsburg Emperor and
father of Maria Theresa)
Beyond: Emergence of galant style in opera in works of Pergolesi, Vinci, Porpora, and
Intermezzi (comic interludes) continue between acts of opera seria
Intermezzi contain elements of the commedia dell’arte
Opera comique is the French form of light opera. The vaudeville final becomes a
feature of the genre after about 1720. The Querelle des Bouffons is a debate
between proponents of French vs. Italian opera. Other important developments
include the rescue opera.
The ballad opera, as exemplified in the Beggars’ Opera of John Gay, rivals
(destroys) Italian opera in England. Beggar’s opera is opera with spoken dialogue.
The Singspiel is the German form of light opera. It contains elements of the
commedia dell’arte (“Hanswurt” is the German form of the Harlequin). Singspiel
written by Weisse and Hiller, climaxing in the work of Mozart.