Locations of the first opera performances: from elitism to general availability





music infrastructure, opera house, genre, audience of spectators


Relevance of the study. The object of research in the history of music usually is the spiritual component of artistic culture, it's genre- and style-centric processes of the art itself. Specific conditions of artistic artifacts's existence, locations where the premiere and subsequent performances took place, draw less scientific attention. At the same time, without taking this information into account, the musico-historical aspects of the past appear devalued and deformed; certain things remain not understood completely, certain moments fall out of sight.

The purpose of the study. It is extremely important to study the components of the infrastructure of musical life as a way of existence of musical culture. The opera theatre is one of the basic components of the infrastructure of the musical life of modern Europe. This study is based on generalization and system analysis methods. Attention is focused on the parametric characteristics of the locations of the first opera performances, where the requirements for future opera houses were formed. In particular, performances that took place in adapted palace premises ("Euridice" by Peri — Florence, Palazzo Pitti, Sala delle Commedie; "Orpheus" by Monteverdi — Mantua, Palazzo Gonzaga, chambers of Margarita Gonzaga d'Este; "Saint Alexius" by Landi — hall of the palace Barberini alle Quattro Fontane) and court theaters mainly of the Renaissance type ("Il rapimento di Cefalo" by Caccini — Florence, Teatro degli Uffizi; "Ariadne" by Monteverdi — Mantua, temporary theatre on the Cortile della Cavallerizza).

The results and conclusions. It is emphasized that the implementation of the essential functions of the opera genre in the New European culture (the development of the anthropo-dimensional space by musical means, the creation of generalized stylistic norms of opus music and ensuring the stability of the formed tradition) is possible under the condition of provided reach and continuous professional development. It is noted that the reach is determined, firstly, by the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the audience and, secondly, by the significant volume of body of the texts. Both of these factors, being prepared in the locations of the first opera performances, were fully developed and realised in the following period, marked by the appearance of publicly accessible opera houses, the first of which was the San Cassiano theater in Venice (1637).

Author Biography

Yurii Chekan, Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine

Doctor of Art Criticism, Associate Professor, Professor at the Department of World Music History


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Opera art: musical and non-musical contexts