Orpheus Is the Inspriration for Many Composers Essay

Orpheus Is the Inspriration for Many Composers Essay

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Orpheus, the son of the god Apollo and the Muse Calliope, a demigod with the power to play intensely emotive and beautiful music, has been a wide source of inspiration for many composers, librettists and writers through the ages. In this comparison, Orpheus serves as a paradigm in the construction of Opera, specifically from the time of Monteverdi, and how the art form has changed dramatically from then until the time of Glück. Orchestration, musical structure, and evolution of the characteristics of opera will be discussed, while focusing on one prominent piece from each opera that will be directly compared. The argument of the success of each composer with regards to fulfilling their aims in the art form, despite having highly revered and criticized works, will be analyzed through the representation of the recitative “Possente Spirto” from Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and the aria “Che faro senza Eurydice” from Glück’s Orfeo ed Eurydice.
The Atlanta Opera Guide (2009: 12) explains that the myth of Orpheus begins with him marrying his a nymph named lover, Eurydice, and soon after she was killed by a fatal snake bite. Distraught, Orpheus went to the underworld and by singing the saddest songs and playing beautiful music on his lyre, Hades and Persephone, Gods of the underworld, allowed him entry to the underworld to find Euridyce, on the condition that he does not look at her until they have left the underworld. Orpheus glanced at Eurydice, in an attempt to console her, and to make sure Hades was not deceiving him, and she was kept in the Underworld forever. Orpheus begged for a second chance, which was denied him, and in his grief played some of the saddest music. Thracian maidens, who had tried to seduce him and failed, became so disgust...


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...e faro senza Eurydice” and throughout his opera, in which he focuses more on simple beauty in the melodic vocal line, and a clear relationship between recitatives and arias in the structure of his opera.
Having enjoyed and investigated both operas it can be stated that between the time of Monteverdi and Glück, the innovations of Opera is obvious. The growth and development of opera in the timespan of 150 years between the earlier Baroque era to the time of the opera reform gives way to the characteristics of each different time. The two operas are model examples of how one facet in the development of music throughout the ages can change, highlighting the continuous evolution of music. The myth of Orfeo has a strong correlation with the concept of opera in general – making a lasting impression on a wide range of audiences, and ultimately displaying the power of music.

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