Author Topic: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?  (Read 22726 times)

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Offline Mystery

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Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« on: May 27, 2007, 12:28:15 AM »
Would you class Don Giovanni as an opera buffa or opera seria? I know there is a lot of speculation about this and I wondered if anyone has any gems of information about it because it may come up as one of my exam questions and I don't want to say exactly the same thing as everyone else! Though the basics would also be good if anyone has any thoughts...

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007, 04:28:26 AM »
Would you class Don Giovanni as an opera buffa or opera seria? I know there is a lot of speculation about this and I wondered if anyone has any gems of information about it because it may come up as one of my exam questions and I don't want to say exactly the same thing as everyone else! Though the basics would also be good if anyone has any thoughts...

Uhhh, Don is opera buffa. Opera seria as an entire new genre dealing with subject matters such as Kings, heros, gods and goddess, for example. For the most part is is associated with the stilted operas from Handel, Vivaldi, etc.. The only opera seria that is on the fringe of the repertoire is Mozart's Idomeneo. No one is going th confuse Idomeneo with Don.

As an example question Don is therefore opera buffa.

hornteacher

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2007, 04:48:03 AM »
Most music history books I've read classify DG as one of the first operas that combines elements of both opera buffa and opera seria, that's part of the reason why it is so popular and why Mozart is regarded so highly in the genre of opera.

Offline Mystery

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2007, 04:51:03 AM »
Yeah because there is the on-stage murder of the Commendatore and then DG goes to Hell in the end - a scene in which the audience is scared! Perhaps it's 'dramma giocoso' if we want to take that as an amalgamation of the two (even if I've just made up that definition).

Offline Bunny

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2007, 04:53:31 AM »
Would you class Don Giovanni as an opera buffa or opera seria? I know there is a lot of speculation about this and I wondered if anyone has any gems of information about it because it may come up as one of my exam questions and I don't want to say exactly the same thing as everyone else! Though the basics would also be good if anyone has any thoughts...

I have to agree with hornteacher.  It's not opera seria, but doesn't quite fit into opera buffa. 

Wendell_E

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2007, 05:40:34 AM »
In his own thematic catalogue, Mozart entered it as "Il dissoluto punito, o, il Don Giovanni. opera buffa in due atti."

You can see a facsimile of the page here:  http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/mozart/accessible/images/page7full.jpg.

In spite of its more serious subject manner, Giovanni is much certainly closer formally to Figaro and Così than it is to Idomeneo or Tito.

BTW, the term dramma giocoso isn't Mozart's, but da Ponte's, and describes the text, rather than the opera as a whole.  He also called Così fan tutte a dramma giocoso, while Figaro's a commedia per musica.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2007, 05:47:52 AM by Wendell_E »

Offline Bunny

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2007, 05:57:26 AM »
In his own thematic catalogue, Mozart entered it as "Il dissoluto punito, o, il Don Giovanni. opera buffa in due atti."

You can see a facsimile of the page here:  http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/mozart/accessible/images/page7full.jpg.

In spite of its more serious subject manner, Giovanni is much certainly closer formally to Figaro and Così than it is to Idomeneo or Tito.

BTW, the term dramma giocoso isn't Mozart's, but da Ponte's, and describes the text, rather than the opera as a whole.  He also called Così fan tutte a dramma giocoso, while Figaro's a commedia per musica.

Così is not a light comedy despite it's elements of farce.  It's a very serious and cynical statement about the interplay of men and women at that time in history.  I can fully understand how da Ponte would have grouped Don Giovanni and Così Fan Tutte together.  It has always been linked in my mind with Choderlos de Laclos epistolary novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Così's "happy ending" has never quite sat well in my consciousness.

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007, 10:04:19 AM »
Yes. ;D
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline Mystery

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2007, 09:23:05 PM »
Which other operas end in Hell, and/or a closing moral?

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2007, 03:55:56 AM »
Which other operas end in Hell, and/or a closing moral?

Boitio's Mephistofele?

Wendell_E

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2007, 04:42:23 AM »
The Rake's Progress ends with a closing moral, and Bedlam's fairly hellish.  >:D

Offline Bunny

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2007, 06:04:14 AM »
Tosca ends with an execution and a suicide, but no moral -- maybe an excuse in Vissi d'Arte.

Carmen ends with a murder, and a moral. ("Eh bien, damnée".)

Madama Butterfly ends with a suicide and a moral. (Don't put your faith in a sailor on shoreleave. ;))

Marc

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2007, 09:59:38 AM »
'Dramma giocoso' means: cheerful screenplay.
Da Ponte's work is a 'dramma giocoso'. Mozart made an 'opera buffa' of this 'dramma'.

These desciptions have got nothing to do with terms like 'tragic' or 'tragedy'.

Opera seria: serious, yes, because it was meant to enlighten and ennoble the audience. And this audience had to be ennobled with examples of great Gods and Kings of the Ancient World, mostly. (Like Van Swieten said, in the movie Amadeus.)

Mozart has written a lot of opera seria, especially in his younger days. His 'adult' opera seria are very good IMHO: Idomeneo and La Clemenza di Tito. Although, about the latter, not everyone agreed. The empress called it: "una porcheria tedesca," eine Teutsche ;) Schweinerei, a German filth.

BURN HER! VIVE LA RÉPUBLIQUE!

Wendell_E

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2007, 10:13:23 AM »
'Dramma giocoso' means: cheerful screenplay.

Screenplay?  Wow, da Ponte was really ahead of his time!  ;D

Marc

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2007, 10:20:20 AM »
Screenplay?  Wow, da Ponte was really ahead of his time!  ;D

Huh huh ....

Oops!

(Blush) :-[
 
Play. Play. Play!

CHEERFUL PLAY!

(Darned language. English. Should be forbidden. Grumble grumble.)

karlhenning

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2007, 11:05:48 AM »
Screenplay?  Wow, da Ponte was really ahead of his time!  ;D

:-)

head-case

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2007, 01:56:03 PM »
Mozart has written a lot of opera seria, especially in his younger days. His 'adult' opera seria are very good IMHO: Idomeneo and La Clemenza di Tito. Although, about the latter, not everyone agreed. The empress called it: "una porcheria tedesca," eine Teutsche ;) Schweinerei, a German filth.

Evidently the empress had impecible taste in these matters.  Whenever you get a CD or DVD or this opera the linear notes or commentaries go on and on about how 'Tito' is a masterpiece despite the fact that virtually everyone who has heard it has hated it, from the premier to the present day.  In fact, it is rubbish.

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2007, 02:23:49 PM »
Evidently the empress had impecible taste in these matters.  Whenever you get a CD or DVD or this opera the linear notes or commentaries go on and on about how 'Tito' is a masterpiece despite the fact that virtually everyone who has heard it has hated it, from the premier to the present day.  In fact, it is rubbish.

Do these notes say they hate the play, or the music--a crucial distinction in opera? ???
Imagination + discipline = creativity

head-case

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2007, 02:43:42 PM »
Do these notes say they hate the play, or the music--a crucial distinction in opera? ???

In this case it is difficult to determine which is worse. 

Wendell_E

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Re: Don Giovanni - buffa or seria?
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2007, 04:08:23 PM »
virtually everyone who has heard [La Clemenza di Tito has hated it, from the premier to the present day. 

Not me.  I'll take it over Mozart's other final opera [Die Zauberflöte] any day.