The History of Opera

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Opera has a very unique history dating back to the 1500s. It began during the end of the 1500swhen a Florentine Committee know as the Camerata Fiorentina, made up of scholars, philosophers and amateur musicians, wished to change the state of music. They were upset with the music style back then because the voices of individuals were schronized into one sound. They believed it was a waste to have several people sing if it just appeared as one voice, so they replaced the current music style with music sung by ancient Greeks. The Ancient Greeks used one voice accompanied by a lyre for backup. Because the Florentine Committee wanted to return to the simplicity of music with instruments, many of the early operas were based on Greek mythology.

The first opera was Euridice composed by Ottavio Rinuccini. The first public opera house, Cassinao Theater, was built in Venice in 1637.

We have chosen to focus in on one great composer of the era. His name is Giacomo Puccini and he lived from 1858 to 1924 and today remains the second most preformed composer in opera theaters. Among his many operas are Madame Butterfly, his first opera Le Villi "The Willace  which is about a supernatural circumstance composed in 1883 followed by his opera entitled Edgar about a medieval romance in 1889.

One of his most famous operas is La Boheme, which made Puccini world famous in 1896. The main characters are Mimi, a poor working girl, and Rodolfo, a poet. On March 19, 1893 the two opera composers who were good friends, Rugero Leoncavallo and Giacomo Pucci, ran into each other at a Milan café. During this time they were finally experiencing success with their operas after having struggled for several years. While they were talking Puccini happened to mention to Leoncavallo that he was working on a new opera which was based on a half a century old series of autobiographical episodes. This opera was La Boheme.

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