Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas

Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas

by Ellen T. Harris
     
 

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Purcell's Dido and Aeneas stands as the greatest operatic achievement of 17th-century England, despite the fact that it was originally composed not for the public theatre but for a private girls' school in Chelsea and takes little more than an hour to perform. Ellen Harris examines the work, s historical position in the Restoration theatre, and shows that, far from… See more details below

Overview

Purcell's Dido and Aeneas stands as the greatest operatic achievement of 17th-century England, despite the fact that it was originally composed not for the public theatre but for a private girls' school in Chelsea and takes little more than an hour to perform. Ellen Harris examines the work, s historical position in the Restoration theatre, and shows that, far from being an operatic anomaly, it was deeply rooted in 17th-century English theatrical and music traditions. Her book summarises the cultural climate in which Dido and Aeneas was composed, surveying the choice of subject matter and analysing Nahum Tate's libretto in the light of 17th-century English conventions of the writing of text for musical setting. It goes on to evaluate the various surviving sources -- all of which post-date the first performance by at least 80 years -- and compares them with the original libretto, discussing the various inconsistencies that arise. There is also a detailed discussion of contemporary musical declamation and ground bass composition. The final section of the book is concerned with the work's performance history and critical reception from the first performance, through the late 18th-century adaptation, to the revivals of the 19th and 20th centuries, The Appendices include a historical survey of national premieres and of editions, and a critical discography.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A required addition to the shelf of the opera lover....It has something for everyone: source studies for the scholar, structural analyses for the teacher, and performance history for the operagoer. It raises many stimulating issues and offers provocative viewpoints; it is a significant contribution to the literature on Purcell's dramatic music and deserves close attention."—Opera Quarterly

"Here is a book that is quite enjoyable to read, a distinction that applies to few works of comparable scholarly excellence."—The American Recorder

"Harris has made a significant contribution to the history of performance practice."—Times Literary Supplement

"Harris brings together a broad range of literary and musical scholarship to make important contributions to our knowledge of the context, origins, sources, and subsequent performance history of Purcell's opera."—Notes

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780193152526
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
01/28/1990
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
212
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.48(d)

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