opera seria 1720 -
Metastasio and his imitators built their stories based on hegemonic characters with moral values . Those characters usually had to face the huge dilemma between love on one hand and honor and duty on the other. That kind of refined and decorated text could be performed both as opera and as theatrical play. ( Pergolesi was among the main composers -
Gluck worked hard on the form and content of the opera. He believed that the two main types of Italian opera (opera seria and opera buffa) did not seem "natural" anymore; they had been far from what an opera should be. Opera buffa had lost its "freshness". Jokes were trivial and the continuous repetition of the same characters made them looking like stereotypes. opera seria singing was superficial and the content was obsolete and boring. The singers of both opera types were absolutely "masters" in the music scene. They decorated the music so much that the audience could not recognize the original melody. Gluck wanted to refocus on the human drama and passions . On the other hand he believed that both text and music should be of the equal importance.
Thus, starting with his "Orpheus and Eurydice" you tube he reduced opportunities for singers to demonstrate their vocal skills. He stopped using the secco recitative and he tried to unify drama, music, dance and theater practice by mixing Italian and French traditions. He went on with his innovations in his "Alcestis" scores you tube and "Paris and Helen" scores. He paid much attention to the orchestration and made the role of the choir more important. "Εxit arias" were decreased.
Gluck's innovations did not become a "mainstream" until the early 1790's. HIs style became the forerunner of opera R. Wagner.
1.Hugo Riemann: dictionary of music, translated by J.S.Shedlock. λήμμα: Christoph Willibald Gluck
Dima Bilan -