History of Opera

Opera Journeys’ “History of Opera” is a “flagship” publication— one of the most popular volumes in the Opera Classics Library Series.

  • Opera scholar Burton D. Fisher presents a unique history of opera in the form of a comprehensive chronology that traces each milestone and metamorphosis in the evolution of modern opera.
  • The text provides an in depth and insightful analysis of each significant period of opera’s development, with an engaging analyses of the significant characteristics of each period.
  • Featured periods are the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Bel Canto, Opera Buffa, Impressionism, Expressionism, German Romanticism, Wagner and music drama, Verismo, post-Romanticism, Atonalism, and much more.

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  • Seventeen operas comprise the ‘milestones’ and ‘metamorphoses’ in the history of opera.
  • Each opera features Principal Characters in the Opera; Brief Story Synopsis; Story Narrative with Music Highlight Examples; and Burton D. Fisher’s insightful and in depth Commentary and Analysis.

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Fisher’s engaging introduction features:
The Birth of Opera: The First 150 years -1600 to 1750;
Opera: What is it?
The Genesis of Opera: a theory;
Opera’s Precursors in Ancient Greece;
Musical Precursors of Opera;
Camerata: Early 17th century Florence;
The Myth of Orpheus;
Monteverdi: the first great opera composer;
Monteverdi’s arioso;
Venetian and Neapolitan Schools;
Metastasio: First guidelines in the 18th century.

Subsequent chapters feature:
Handel and Baroque Opera (Handel: Julius Caesar)
Gluck: Returning to Ideals (Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice)
French Baroque Opera: Lully and Rameau
Mozart and the Classical Era (Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro)
Carl Maria von Weber: German Romanticism (Weber: Der Freischütz)