Past Events - 2011

"At the Origins of the Love Duet: Monteverdi's and Cavalli's Shared Strophic Arias"

When: Thursday, February 17, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Gerber Lounge, English-Philiosophy Building
Presented by: Francesco Dalla Vecchia (University of Iowa, Musicology)

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ABSTRACT: A “shared strophic aria” is an operatic song in which two characters alternate each strophe. This type of aria is characteristic of seventeenth-century opera but is often confused with a duet because it involves two singers and because its dramatic function is similar to that of an ensemble. Indeed these strophic arias may feature some sections in which the two characters sing together, but shared strophic arias differ from duets because they have long elaborate texts shaped by the librettist, rather than a few lines set against each other by the composer. In other words, they are often closer to ceremonious dialogue than to lyrical expression. Shared strophic arias are poetic symbols of symmetrical complementariness and were used primarily for only two dramatic functions: the expression of two lovers’ harmonious bond, and the contrast typical of verbal confrontation. In both dramatic situations, this form was meant to convey equilibrium according to the traditional principle of Italian poetry called “risponder per le rime” (replying using the same rhymes). Yet the strophic text induced composers to use the same music to express sometimes contrasting affects. This paper considers the poetic forms, dramatic contents, and musical settings of the shared strophic arias found in the operas of Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676), the most representative composer of seventeenth-century Venetian opera; moreover, it provides significant terms of comparison for three texts of this type found in the most celebrated opera of that period, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (1643).

SPEAKER: Francesco Dalla Vecchia is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at the University of Iowa, where he is preparing a dissertation on arias in the opera of Cavalli. He graduated with a degree in Italian Literature at the University of Padua, Italy, with a thesis on early Italian string quartets. He has published an edition of Joseph Schuster's string quartets, which were formerly attributed to Mozart and compiled entries for Musik in Geschichteund Gegenwart and for an encyclopedia on twentieth-century music published by Salem Press. He has taught at the at Cornell College and Mount Mercy University.

"Giuseppe Verdi and the Italian Risorgimento"

Presented by: Philip Gossett
Date: Thursday, April 21, 2011
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Where: University Capitol Centre, Music Recital Hall

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Political symbolism within Verdi ‘s operas has been hotly debated for decades. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification, Gossett’s talk investigates Verdi's operas (and Austrian censorship of them), Verdi during the 1848 revolution, and Verdi as a member of the first Italian parliament.

Gossett is a music historian with special interests in 19th-century Italian opera. He is the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago and Professor at the University of Roma "La Sapienza." He is the first musicologist to receive the Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award and also holds the Cavaliere di Gran Croce, the Italian government's highest civilian honor.

Co-sponsored by the Opera Studies Forum, the UI School of Music and the University of Iowa Institute for Italian Opera Studies.

“Opera at the Court of Frederick the Great: Montezuma as Royal Biography”

Presented by: John Rice, Visiting Professor, University of Pittsburgh
When: Friday, May 6, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Clinton Street Music Room 6

“Re-Creation: Musical Reception of Classical Antiquity”

The Opera Studies Forum, in conjunction with the Classics Department International Conference “Re-Creation: Musical Reception of Classical Antiquity.”

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In advance of the UI Martha Ellen Tye Opera Theater’s production of Jacopo Peri’s Euridice, OSF is sponsoring the following talk:

Guest speaker: Wendy Heller (Princeton University, Musicology)
Date: Thursday, October 27, 2011
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: 2520D, UCC (**Please note location change)

Summary: Jacopo Peri’s Euridice (1600) has always had a curious place in the history of opera. First produced in Florence as part of the wedding festivities for the marriage of Henry IV to Maria de Medici, Euridice is the most enduring result of operatic experiments carried out by Peri, Giulio Caccini, and the poet Ottavio Rinuccini under the auspices of the Florentine nobleman and harpsichordist Jacopo Corsi. Nevertheless, that Claudio Monteverdi also chose the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice as the basis of his own L’Orfeo (1607) has necessarily relegated Euridice to a subsidiary role, garnering praise more for its apparent influence on Monteverdi's opera than for its intrinsic musical value. Taking account of the representation of the Orpheus tale in art and literature in late sixteenth-century Florence, Heller's talk will explore the musical richness of Peri’s Euridice on its own terms and the ways in which its creators managed to invent something entirely modern while ostensibly emulating the ancients.

Wendy Heller (Princeton University) specializes in the study of 17th- and 18th-century opera from interdisciplinary perspectives, with particular emphasis on gender and sexuality, art history, and the classical tradition.

Metropolitan Opera in Iowa

Coordinated to the Met Live in HD theater transmissions

February 21, 2011 (Monday): Robert Ketterer (University of Iowa, Classics), on Gluck's Iphige'nie en Tauride

October 12, 2011 (Wednesday): Katherine Eberle (University of Iowa, Music), on Donizetti’s Anna Bolena

October 20, 2011 (Thursday): Shari Rhoads (University of Iowa, Music), on Mozart’s Don Giovanni

November 16, 2011 (Wednesday): Paul Greenough (University of Iowa, History), on Glass’s Satyagraha

November 30, 2011 (Wednesday): Michael Eckert (University of Iowa, Music), on Handel’s Rodelinda