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I need this short writen assignment paragraph done by thursday. Below are the instructions and lesson overview.


Compare and contrast oratorio and opera. Your opinion is valuable. Please expand on what you have read here and elsewhere. Paraphrase the comparison and refer to the listening examples to help make your point. Remember, this lesson extends into the Viennese and Romantic periods. In your answer, consider whether the later operas follow the traditions of the early opera by Monteverdi.

      Search the Internet or the library for the terms opera and oratorio. To narrow your search, you could type the words opera oratorio history (only sites with all these terms are returned). Or look up the phrase “opera history.” Putting the words between quotation marks gives you information on the whole phrase. (Try different words or phrases, depending on your area of interest, e.g., “Don Giovanni,” “program notes.”)

You will refer to these selections in your writing assignment. Also, you may want to refer to these 

Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart –

Die Walküre by Richard Wagner –

Falstaff excerpt by Giuseppe Verdi –

La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini –

Lesson 6 – The Baroque Period – Special Focus: The Oratorio & OperaOverview

Emphasis on detail, an increased concern for expression of emotion, and a love of contrast are the hallmarks of the Baroque period. Such composing giants as Bach and Handel make their appearance in this period, and instrumental music is as popular as vocal music. The smoothness of Renaissance polyphony gives way to varied textures, and the elaborate treatment of polyphonic text gives way in some vocal music to a focus on making the words more speech-like and clear, which is the birth of opera. Dramatic arias contrasting with the recitatives allowed for large dramatic compositions.

Both opera, and another vocal form, the oratorio, are explored in depth with a special listening assignment. The listening examples will take you into later periods so you can hear how this initial idea developed. As you will see, there are similarities between opera and oratorio, the greatest differences being that one is secular and acted out and the other is sacred and less staged.

Opera Staging. This is a set up for a modern opera production in an ancient location (Hadrian’s Villa).

What You Will Learn 

After successfully completing this lesson, you will understand

· the features that characterize Baroque music. 

· the revolution in vocal music that was started by the Camerata, a group of philosophers, noblemen, and some musicians in Florence. 

· the changing relationship of recitatives and arias in large musical dramas. 

· the features and development of opera and oratorio. 

· the new role of melody, tonality, and the figured bass accompaniment known as the continuo. 

· the major musical terms associated with the period. 

· the contributions of the era’s prominent composers.

Ephesus Amphitheather


The Baroque era was a period of detail, precision, and contrasts in the service of passion. It was another period where the energy started in Italy. In this case, it was the remarkable occurrence of a group of people, the Camerata in Florence, deciding on a new form of music (however much they hoped it was like ancient Greece). The development of monody, with its solo voice and basso continuo, was a departure from the Renaissance ideal of four equal voices in counterpoint, which had tended to obscure the text. It led not only to a style of songs but also formed the basis of the recitative in opera, as well as the move in instrumental music to a melody with bass and harmonic accompaniment. While these elements had widespread appeal, Handel, Bach, and other giants of this period continued to blend their influence with polyphony of extraordinary genius. And instrumental music became as popular as vocal music. The period also settled into the major and minor scales, abandoning the other church modes and making the tonic-dominant relationship the primary harmonic force.

Dramatic vocal music forms have played an important role in the history of art music, especially in the Baroque era, when both opera and the oratorio developed. There are obvious differences between these two forms, but they share many similarities. As opera developed in later periods, it maintained many of its original elements, but developed new conventions and expanded in scope.

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