"Music's Obedient Daughter"

The Opera Libretto from Source to Score


A libretto is an indispensable part of an opera as a musical genre: with few exceptions, operas have been the subject of musicological studies, and instrumental versions of sung or unsung opera numbers may be heard, but we never listen to libretto texts being performed without the music. Thus as a literary form the libretto is a highly specific genre with its own particular attributes. This volume offers an approach to the libretto through the discussion of these attributes in many different examples. It explores what may be expected of a librettist in response to the demands of the genre’s characteristics, his trials and tribulations, his exchanges with the composer while adapting or converting a source, almost always a literary source, into the eventual libretto, and about the different musical ways of dealing with the text. In this way the volume clarifies the fundamental differences between the libretto and other literary genres.
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Table of contents

Sabine Lichtenstein: Introduction
Eddie Vetter: The Power of Music: Striggio and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo
Jacques Boogaart: Octavia Reincarnated: Busenello’s and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea
Tim Carter: In the Operatic Workshop: The Case of Varesco’s and Mozart’s Idomeneo
Caryl Clark: The Librettist’s Dilemma in London: Badini’s and Haydn’s Orfeo ed Euridice
Irmlind Capelle: “But There Is another Intrigue and a Comic Element Placed Alongside”: Hans Sachs – the Relation of Lortzing’s Opera to Deinhardstein’s Drama
Heather Hadlock: “Ce bal est original!”: Classical Parody and Burlesque in Orphée aux enfers by Crémieux, Halévy and Offenbach
John Neubauer: Burning the Heretics and Saving Don Carlos: Méry’s, Du Locle’s and Verdi’s Don Carlos
Katherine Syer: Tracing Wotan’s Incendiary Past: The Evolution of Storms and Fire in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen
Vincent Giroud: Manon at the Opera: From Prévost’s Manon Lescaut to Auber’s Manon Lescaut and Massenet’s Manon
Kasper van Kooten: “Closed, Efficient, Terrible!”: Reflections on the Genesis and Dramaturgy of Illica’s, Giacosa’s and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
Helga Hushahn: The End of a Line: Strauss’ and Hofmannsthal’s Elektra
Sabine Lichtenstein: “Something Uncommonly German”: Hans Pfitzner’s Palestrina, Eine Musikalische Legende
Loes Dommering-van Rongen: The Musical Personality of Don Quixote: Manuel de Falla’s El Retablo de Maese Pedro
Michal Grover-Friedlander: Transformations of the Killing of a Boy: Weill’s and Brecht’s Der Jasager
Ruth HaCohen: A Theological Midrash in Search of Operatic Action: Moses und Aron by Arnold Schoenberg
C.C. Barfoot: The Making of a Victim: From Crabbe’s The Borough to Slater’s and Britten’s Peter Grimes
Claudia di Luzio: Opera on Opera: Luciano Berio’s Opera
Notes on Contributors


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