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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Music History
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Lecture Comments (1)

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Post by CARABA DANIELA on February 1, 2015

Plsss plsss do a course only on Opera. You are great and I have been searching the entire internet for such a class. I am surer I am not the only one.


  • Opera Seria: from the Baroque of more serious opera
  • Had divas and da capo arias and bells and whistles
  • Opera Buffa: derived from the intermezzos or comic relief between acts of the opera seria
  • Mozart took this new popular buffa style and ran with it
  • Characters are deeper, melodies are constrained, greater focus on relation between the text and music
  • Not as much recitative


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Yay, More Opera! 0:30
    • Opera Seria vs. Opera Buffa
    • Review of Opera Seria
    • Da Capo Aria
    • Recitative Furthered Plot
  • Where’s the Buffa? 3:43
    • Intermezzo: Between Acts
    • Characters from Commeda Dell'Arte: Italian Theater with Stock Characters
  • Where's the Buffa? 5:39
    • Emphasis on the Bass Voice
    • Unexpected Accents
    • Quick Tempos
    • Wide Leaps
    • Frequent Use of Vocal Ensemble
    • Example: Pergolesi's La Serva de Padrona (1733)
    • Became So Popular, The Intermezzo Toured On Its Own
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 8:22
    • Child Prodigy Gone Bad
    • Composed In All Forms and All Genres
    • Redefined Opera Buffa As Its Own Category
    • The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni
    • Example: The Marriage of Figaro
    • Simpler Melodies
    • Formulaic Structures
    • Emphasis on the Connection of Voice and Text
    • Stories Never Stalled
    • Replaced Stock Characters with More Psychologically In-Depth Characters
  • Review 12:38
    • Development of Opera Continued Into Romantic Period
    • Rossini Took Over From Mozart (William Tell, Barber of Seville)
    • Audiences Liked Intermezzos More than the Opera Seria
    • Transformed into Opera Buffa