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fronted with audiences drawn from the masses desirous only of being amused, a change was inevitable. Mythological and classical subjects were gradually discarded in favour of those involving intrigue, and comic personages were introduced to enliven the scene. As the dramatic action was thus brought nearer the comprehension of the unlearned, so the music departed from the oratorical and declamatory style of the early school and showed a frank tendency toward melody and regularity of form. What was lost in elevation of theme was gained by the human interest imparted to the play and the consequent endeavor of the composer to express by his music the many vicissitudes of life. Thus in the Venetian school opera acquired warmth of feeling, and flexibility in means of expression, while the evolution of rhythmic melody and definite musictl structure laid the foundation of the art as we now know it.

The Venetian school was followed by the Neapolitan. In this latter school the tendency toward melody and form became the established practice. Alessandro Scarlatti (1659-1725), its founder, improved the recitative by adding an orchestral accompaniment, and gave definite form to the aria. The form of opera as fixed by him was followed for a century. It consisted principally of recitatives and arias, and each opera contained from fifty to sixty of the latter. Aside from these there was but little formal music, only an occasional march or dance besides the overture. The simple recitative was used for ordinary dialogue, the accompanied recitative was reserved for situations of dramatic importance, and the aria served to express individual emotion. The chorus was employed but sparingly, as a rule appearing only at the end of the act to give greater éclat to the finale.

Thus at the beginning of the 18th century we find the opera on an overwhelmingly musical basis. The singer began to assume precedence over the actor, truth of expression yielded to the fascinations of time and tune, and in the end singers regarded the opera only as a field for the display of their dazzling accomplishments.

It would be beside our purpose to examine the opera of this period in France, Germany and England. With the exception of the improvement and extension of the overture in France, there is little if any change from the Neapolitan school.

Great as Handel is in oratorio, he did nothing to raise opera from its degraded state. The series of operas he produced form the climax of the type originated by Scarlatti. Many of his most beautiful creations are buried in operas which are dead beyond the possibility of resuscitation on account of his acquiescence in the conventionalities of his time.

To Gluck (1714-1787) belongs the credit of raising the opera from its degraded position of a mere concert on the stage. After writing several operas in the conventional style of the day, he resolved to break with it entirely. He advocated a ruthless sacrifice of the conventionalities and the placing of opera upon its original foundation of the drama. To quote his own words written in defence of one of his operas: "My purpose has been to restrict the art of music to its true objectthat of aiding the effect of poetry by giving greater expression to the words and scenes but without interrupting the action of the plot and without weakening the impression by needless instrumentation." This quarrel between the lyric and dramatic in opera has gone on ever since and it is not yet settled.

Mozart (1756-1791) was a contemporary of Gluck and profoundly influenced opera, though in a different way. Mozart's conception of the opera is that of the musician, not of the dramatist. This is plain from the indifferent texts he accepted. But although his music is as melodious as that of the florid Neapolitan school, his characters are real and his music fits the characters and the situations. Such a union of clear cut characterization and musical beauty had never yet been seen in opera. Had the Composer met a Poet, as Wagner would put it, Mozart would have left us an opera of the lyric type unsurpassed by any subsequent composer. But the Composer never met a Poet and the truthfulness of his characterization is confined to details and personages. Of the development of the drama as a whole he had apparently but little idea. It is to be noticed also that the dramas now chosen for operas are no longer based on ancient mythology, for by this time the Romantic Movement was beginning to manifest itself in music.

Once again undue emphasis of the lyric side begins to appear. Rossini (1792-1868) was as rich in melody as Mozart, though of a less refined type, and he soon became the most popular composer in Europe. His operas are on the whole a

reversion to the conventional type of Handel's time in being written for the singer to exhibit his art and not to express the significance of the drama. In Semiramide he tells a story of battle, murder and sudden death in the same rippling rhythm and highly ornamental melodies that illustrate the intrigues of lovers in his Barber of Seville. But his William Tell, produced in 1829, shows an almost startling change of style. Elevated and dramatic in treatment and shorn of redundant ornament as befits the character of the subject, it remains his greatest achievement in serious opera.

Weber (1786-1826) is however the real founder of the Romantic opera. In his Der Freishütz we find for the first time the union of all the characteristics of the Romantic Movement in music. The characters of classical mythology are banished from the stage and in their places are substituted figures of legend or chivalry, the action paid no regard to the unities of time and place, it was brisk and animated, and the supernatural played an important part in it. The music, instead of being governed by definite forms, adapted itself to the varying exigencies of the drama; the sharp division between the Recitative and the Aria was softened by the introduction of the Scena, a peculiar effective mingling of the features of both; the overtures became an integral part of the whole by the use of themes associated with leading dramatic situations. The orchestra not only supplied an accompaniment for the voices of the actors but its power of independent expression was enormously enlarged. It even vied with the singers in indicating psychological and dramatic crises. One serious blemish still remained. The ordinary dialogue, according to German convention, was spoken not sung. The next step was the entire abolition of the speaking voice from the operatic stage, and this Weber took in his opera Euryanthe. In it the drama is set to music throughout and this opera is the direct prototype of the modern music-drama.

A few years later Meyerbeer composed several famous operas along the lines of Weber's Euryanthe and brought the form to great perfection. His cosmopolitan education enabled him to combine the outward characteristics of the three schools—French, German, Italian-as no one had ever attempted it. The ballet and spectacular effects of the French school,

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the Supernaturalism of Weber, and the brilliant melody of Rossini were all brought together with consummate art.

While Meyerbeer was dominating the French stage and through it exerting a powerful influence on serious opera in all countries, the Italian school was recovering in part from the influence of Rossini. Melody still reigned supreme but it was shorn of the excessive and unmeaning ornamentation with which his music was overloaded.

The reaction in favour of greater simplicity and sincerity was led by Donizetti (1797-1848), the author of Lucia, La Favorita, etc., and by Bellini, the author of La Somnambula. A far more significant personality than either of these is Verdi (1813-1901). Not merely a melodist but a dramatist as well, his long life gave him the opportunity of profiting by the many influences which brought about the extraordinary musical development of the last hundred years. The fact that he did so without compromising his artistic or national individuality makes him the great Italian composer of the 19th century.

In estimating the work of Verdi we must notice at the outset that the Verdi who wrote Il Trovatore, an opera of beautiful melodies set to an absurd plot, is about as far apart from the Verdi who composed Otello and Falstaff as Marlowe is from Shakespeare. For the sake of convenience we may divide his musical life into four periods. The operas Ernani, Rigoletto and Aïda are characteristic of the first, second and third periods respectively, while Otello and Falstaff mark the culmination of his genius. Even in the first stage of his career Verdi shows a distinct advance in the handling of dramatic situations. In Rigoletto, which belongs to the second period of his development, he has painted his characters with music so appropriate to the feeling that in this one respect at least he has been favorably compared with Mozart.

Aïda, which marks the third period of his genius, is the full fruition of the Romantic Movement, though in a manner thoroughly Italian. Unmistakably influenced by Wagner, Verdi in this opera shows the definite adoption of a new standard. The florid style is strictly avoided, and the different movements, recitatives, arias and ensemblees are more closely connected and are sustained by a richer and more fluent orchestra

tion than he had hitherto given to his operas. Aïda is the beginning of the new Italian school, one more in sympathy with the original conception of the opera as a drama while retaining the characteristic grace and charm of vocal treatment.

Before treating Verdi's fourth period, in which he composed Otello and Falstaff, we must first consider the innovavations of Wagner. Passing over his earlier operas and coming to his music-dramas, we find the pendulum has again swung away from the lyric to the dramatic on the operatic stage. The primitive ideal of the opera as embodied in the works of Peri are here revived. Simple and formless as these works now appear, they contain the germ of all that Wagner has accomplished, apart from the question of means, even to the very name of music-drama. This he revived because in his opinion the term opera had acquired a preponderantly musical significance which made it inappropriate for his later works in view of their dramatic character. In the music-drama of Wagner an attempt is made to combine the arts of the poet, the painter, the architect, the sculptor and the musician. The scene painter is the artist and architect, the actor by plastic poses replaces the sculptor, while the musician allows his music no form but that dictated by the poet in his verses. So far has the pendulum swung from the lyric extravagances of Rossini that the singer as such may almost be said to be banished from the stage. His main contribution to the action of the drama is to give visible life to the music of the orchestra. As far as the singer's part of the music-drama is concerned, it might all be rendered by Wagner's use of the leitmotif. A leitmotif is a characteristic theme or harmonic progression associated with each of the Dramatis Personae and which appears with such modifications of mode or rhythm as the dramatic situation demands. It is not confined to personages. In the Ring of the Nibelung, for instance, the stolen gold, the ring formed from it, the sword which plays such an important part in Die Walkure and in Siegfried, all have their corresponding motives. It is through these motives that Wagner is able to give his orchestra an all but articulate speech and to weld the musicdrama into an organic whole. As we have already seen, the lyric side of opera had been unduly emphasized and the magnificent work which Wagner has done is to banish forever the

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