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Serva padrona : intermezzo

Serva padrona : intermezzo

Date: [1804, 1805]
Creator: Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista, 1710-1736
Description: The intermezzo La serva padrona first appeared between the acts of Pergolesi’s Il prigioniero superbo in 1733. This was the standard way in which to present an intermezzo. The work served as comic relief in the midst of more solemn opera serie, and incorporated elements of the improvisational commedia del’arte tradition. For instance, the few characters are drawn from stock types, such as the servant Serpina.
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Buona figliuola : opera comica

Buona figliuola : opera comica

Date: 1767
Creator: Piccinni, Niccolò, 1728-1800; Goldoni, Carlo, 1707-1793 & Richardson, Samuel, 1689-1761
Description: Goldoni turned to Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) as the inspiration for his La buona figliuola. In 1750, he wrote the play Pamela nubile and then turned it into a libretto for Duni. Although Duni’s La buona figliuola (1756) was a failure, Piccinni’s setting in 1760 was a huge success. The hilarious comedy coupled with Piccinni’s sentimental treatment of Cecchina contributed to the popularity of the opera, which still receives performances to this day. Typical of opera buffe, La buona figliuola features chain-like finales that propel the plot and characters to the end of the act (at that time, sectional finales were new to Rome). Other features of his music that receive praise are the beautiful, Italianate melodies, energetic accompaniments, and the variety of musical treatment throughout the opera.
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Platée : comédie-ballet

Platée : comédie-ballet

Date: 1749
Creator: Rameau, Jean Philippe, 1683-1764 & Le Valois d'Orville, Adrien-Joseph
Description: Jacques Autreau’s play Platée, ou Junon jalouse was based on a story by a second-century Greek author named Pausanias who chronicled his travels (including rituals and traditions) in ten books that represent the different regions of Greece. At the time Le Valois d’Orville appropriated Autreau’s drama for a libretto, it was uncommon for French court operas to include comic features, and even Autreau’s spoken play lacked the comic tone of the opera. Yet, the humor extends beyond the plot; for instance, the sounds of frogs and birds are represented instrumentally. Platée was first performed at Versailles for the wedding of the dauphin and Princess Maria Theresa of Spain in 1745.
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Colonie : opéra comique en deux actes

Colonie : opéra comique en deux actes

Date: 1776
Creator: Sacchini, Antonio, 1730-1786 & Framery, Nicolas Etienne, 1745-1810
Description: None
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Renaud : tragedie lyrique en trois actes

Renaud : tragedie lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1783
Creator: Sacchini, Antonio, 1730-1786
Description: Sacchini’s first opera for the French stage was Renaud. Although he had the support of Marie Antoinette, Sacchini quickly learned that foreign (especially Italian) composers in Paris faced difficulties. The premiere of Renaud was intentionally delayed in an attempt to highlight Sacchini’s privilege with the queen, and the opera did not enjoy immediate success, even from Piccinni’s supporters. However, Renaud went on to be performed frequently, appearing as late as 1815.
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Finta pazza, drama.

Finta pazza, drama.

Date: 1644
Creator: Strozzi, Giulio, 1583-1652
Description: Although Sacrati’s La finta pazza (1641) was immensely popular and influential, the opera has received little discussion in modern scholarship, due in large part to the absence of the music (even the number of extant copies of librettos is very small). Since Lorenzo Bianconi discovery of a score that was used for traveling productions, the opera has received increasing attention.
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Tarare : opéra en cinq actes avec un prologue

Tarare : opéra en cinq actes avec un prologue

Date: 1790
Creator: Salieri, Antonio, 1750-1825 & Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de, 1732-1799
Description: Antonio Salieri’s French debut Les Danaïdes (1784) led to additional commissions, Les Horaces (1786) and Tarare (1787). Although Les Horaces was not well-received, Tarare was popular both in Paris and Vienna. Beaumarchais supplied the libretto for Tarare, basing his plot on the third volume of the exotic English collection The Tales of the Genii, or The Delightful Lessons of Horam, the Son of Asmar (1764) by James Ridley, (pseudonym for Sir Charles Morell), who claimed the stories were translated from a Persian source.
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Persée : tragedie

Persée : tragedie

Date: 1722
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Philippe Quinault, 1635-1688
Description: King Louis XIV's involvement in campaigns against the Dutch/Swedish alliance in early 1682 prevented him from attending the premiere of Persée in April of that year. As was customary in the operas of composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and librettist Philippe Quinault, the prologue included references to current battlefield exploits and portrayed the king as a paragon of virtue. The prologues of previous Lully operas emphasized glory and prowess over virtue; the change in emphasis in Persée may have resulted from the increased influence of Madame de Maintenon (the king's new mistress) in the court and her pension for decorum.
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Phaëton. Tragedie mise en musique

Phaëton. Tragedie mise en musique

Date: 1709
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: Like many of the operas created by composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and Philippe Quinault, his favorite librettist, Phaëton is filled with solar symbolism--a reference to the "Sun King," Louis XIV. The story also provides a political lesson: the haughty youth unable to contend with his position of power served as a warning to anyone brash enough to challenge the rigid mores of Louis' court. In addition to this political interpretation, the story is also a character study of a reckless juvenile whose arrogance destroys him. Phaëton's misguided and inappropriate attempts to make his lineage public bring about his downfall. The plot, like that of several of Lully's operas, is based on an episode in Ovid's Metamorphoses.
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Thesée; tragedie mise en musique

Thesée; tragedie mise en musique

Date: 1711
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: Thesée, which premiered at the court theater at St. Germain-en-laye on January 11, 1675, was Jean-Baptiste Lully's third tragédie lyrique created in collaboration with librettist Philippe Quinault. As in most of his libretti for Lully, Quinault combines a plot based on a classical source (an episode from Ovid's Metamorphoses) with references to contemporary events. The Prologue alludes to Louis XIV's personal leadership in the military engagements in the Alsace (along the French/German border). The juxtaposition of Venus' entreaties for pleasure with Mars' call to arms reflects a period of unease during which the French armies were in retreat from the armies of the Elector of Brandenburg. This resulted in the unique joining of songs of love with songs of war and victory.
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Les deux comtesses : opera bouffon imité de l'Italien et parodié sous la musique

Les deux comtesses : opera bouffon imité de l'Italien et parodié sous la musique

Date: 178u
Creator: Paisiello, Giovanni, 1740-1816 & Framery, Nicolas Etienne, 1745-1810
Description: Paisiello’s comic operas were some of the most successful of the time. In point of fact, his operas enjoyed 251 performances in Vienna between 1783 and 1792, compared to 63 performances of Mozart’s operas. The intermezzo Le due comtesse, which first appeared in Rome (with an all-male cast) on 3 January 1776, was translated to French and parodied by Nicolas Etienne Framery, who also adapted Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Parisian stage.
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Phaëton : tragédie mise en musique

Phaëton : tragédie mise en musique

Date: 1683
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: Like many of the operas created by composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and Philippe Quinault, his favorite librettist, Phaëton is filled with solar symbolism--a reference to the "Sun King," Louis XIV. The story also provides a political lesson: the haughty youth unable to contend with his position of power served as a warning to anyone brash enough to challenge the rigid mores of Louis' court. In addition to this political interpretation, the story is also a character study of a reckless juvenile whose arrogance destroys him. Phaëton's misguided and inappropriate attempts to make his lineage public bring about his downfall. The plot, like that of several of Lully's operas, is based on an episode in Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
Proserpine : tragedie mise en musique

Proserpine : tragedie mise en musique

Date: 1707
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: With Proserpine, composer Jean-Baptiste Lully returned to his collaboration with librettist Philippe Quinault, which had been interrupted when the poet was banned from Court for offending Madame de Montespan (the king's mistress) with unflattering references in Isis. By 1679, Quinault had been restored to favor. Proserpine was first performed at St. Germain-en-Laye in February of 1680. Though seventeenth-century audiences were familiar with the story of Proserpine being carried off into Hades from numerous ballets and stage plays, Quinault returned to the source in Ovid's Metamorphoses to embellish the plot. In addition to details drawn from Ovid, Quinault added some of his own, making Proserpine among the most convoluted of Lully's operas. While the prologue alludes to King Louis XIV in the guise of Jupiter, the play itself refers specifically to the king's recent victories over the Spanish and Dutch when Jupiter battles and defeats the giants. Robert Isherwood notes that Jupiter's trip to Phrygia may represent Louis' inspection of Flanders after its defeat in 1679.
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Thesee : tragédie

Thesee : tragédie

Date: 1675~
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: Thesée, which premiered at the court theater at St. Germain-en-laye on January 11, 1675, was Jean-Baptiste Lully's third tragédie lyrique created in collaboration with librettist Philippe Quinault. As in most of his libretti for Lully, Quinault combines a plot based on a classical source (an episode from Ovid's Metamorphoses) with references to contemporary events. The Prologue alludes to Louis XIV's personal leadership in the military engagements in the Alsace (along the French/German border). The juxtaposition of Venus' entreaties for pleasure with Mars' call to arms reflects a period of unease during which the French armies were in retreat from the armies of the Elector of Brandenburg. This resulted in the unique joining of songs of love with songs of war and victory.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library
Zéphire et Flore; opéra en musique

Zéphire et Flore; opéra en musique

Date: 1688
Creator: Lully, Louis de, 1664-1734 & Duboullay, Michel
Description: Zephire et Flore, the only opera attributed to Louis and Jean-Louis Lully, sons of Jean-Baptiste Lully, sets a libretto by Michel Du Boullay based on episodes from Greek mythology. It was performed for the first time 22 March 1688 at the Palais Royale in Paris. There is no record of a court performance, and it was revived only once, in June of 1715, with revisions by Destouches. We know of no modern performances, nor recordings of the opera in whole or in part.
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Plain and easy introduction to practical music

Plain and easy introduction to practical music

Date: 1771
Creator: Morley, Thomas, 1557-1603?
Description: In 1597, while Morley was negotiating for the patent, he wrote his musical treatise, A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke. Although his preface contains the statement that he had “nothing better to do,” Morley probably knew publishing a treatise on the science of music would boost public interest in purchasing musical works. In addition, by publishing such a work, the English audience would view Morley as an authority in music (and he would become more likely to obtain the patent) (Smith, “Print Culture and the Elizabethan Composer,” 163). The work is practical, and is organized into three sections: teaching to sing simple song, teaching to sing two parts over a plainsong or ground, and teaching counterpoint.
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Fileuse : parodie d'Omphale

Fileuse : parodie d'Omphale

Date: 1752
Creator: Vade, M. (Jean Joseph), 1719-1757 & Destouches, M. (André Cardinal), 1672-1749
Description: When Vadé’s first opera comique, La fileuse, appeared at the Foire St Germain on 8 March 1752, the tragic opera that it parodied—Destouches’s Omphale (1701)—had recently been criticized by Friedrich Melchior Grimm in his “Lettre sur Omphale.” Soon after this attack on “bad taste” in French music, the Querelle des Bouffons heated up, with debates about the merits of Italian comic opera versus French serious opera. Many mid-eighteenth-century French comic parodies were based on familiar serious operas, but following the Querelle des Bouffons, lyrical Italianate melodies were incorporated into the opera comique genre. Vadé’s La fileuse follows the older model of reworking existing tunes to new texts, including a vaudeville finale; later in his career, he composed some original airs.
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Les amours des dieux : ballet heroique

Les amours des dieux : ballet heroique

Date: 1727
Creator: Mouret, Jean Joseph, 1682-1738
Description: None
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Recueil d'airs serieux et a boire de differents auteurs : pour l'année 1701.

Recueil d'airs serieux et a boire de differents auteurs : pour l'année 1701.

Date: 1701
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687
Description: Contains songs by various composers with figured bass. French or Italian words. Issued in 12 monthly installments.
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Oeuvres de M. Vade, ou recueil des opera-comiques, & parodies qu'il a donnes depuis quelques annees; avec les airs, rondes, & vaudevilles notes; & autres ouvrages du meme auteur.

Oeuvres de M. Vade, ou recueil des opera-comiques, & parodies qu'il a donnes depuis quelques annees; avec les airs, rondes, & vaudevilles notes; & autres ouvrages du meme auteur.

Date: 1755
Creator: Vade, M. (Jean Joseph), 1719-1757.
Description: Jean-Joseph Vadé’s popularity as a composer and librettist is evident in the publication of his collected works, which first appeared in 1755 but was expanded in 1758, a year after his death. Vadé’s œuvre consists of mostly opéras comiques, some with original music rather than preexisting tunes. The collected works editions include fictional correspondence and poetry. Vadé’s interest in capturing the bustling atmosphere of fish markets is evident in such works as Les quatre bouquets poissards and the poem La pipe cassée, which is classified as a “poëme epitragipoissardiheroicomique.” Melodies for operatic airs are also printed in this volume. Although Vadé claimed authorship of the music, some were familiar tunes that had existed before Vadé appropriated them.
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Le trompeur trompe, ou, La rencontre imprevue. Opera-comique en un acte. Represente pour la premiere fois sur le Theatre de la Foire S. Germain, le 18 fevrier 1754.

Le trompeur trompe, ou, La rencontre imprevue. Opera-comique en un acte. Represente pour la premiere fois sur le Theatre de la Foire S. Germain, le 18 fevrier 1754.

Date: 1754
Creator: Vade, M. (Jean Joseph), 1719-1757.
Description: In the mid-eighteenth century, comic opera librettos served a dual purpose, as evinced by the libretto to Vadé ’s Trompeur trompé (1754). Although the primary function of the publication was to allow audience members to follow along with the text of the opera, solo airs were printed in the back of the book. Not all the melodies are included, but those printed in the libretto enhance our understanding of an opera the music of which was never published as a comprehensive musical score.
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Recueil d'opera

Recueil d'opera

Date: 16uu
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687
Description: Collection of opera excerpts in manuscript (in an unidentified hand).
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Armide : tragedie mise en musique

Armide : tragedie mise en musique

Date: 1686
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: Armide, which premiered at the Paris Opéra February 15, 1686, was the last tragédie lyrique on which Jean-Baptiste Lully collaborated with his favorite librettist, Philippe Quinault. Quinault retired from the stage after Armide, and Lully died a year later on March 22, 1687. From its first performance, Armide was considered their masterpiece. Armide is unusual among Lully and Quinault's tragédies lyriques in that it concentrates on the psychological development of a single character; the reflective style of this late work may be regarded as an early presentiment of trends toward individualism in art.
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Proserpine; tragedie

Proserpine; tragedie

Date: 1680
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688
Description: With Proserpine, composer Jean-Baptiste Lully returned to his collaboration with librettist Philippe Quinault, which had been interrupted when the poet was banned from Court for offending Madame de Montespan (the king's mistress) with unflattering references in Isis. By 1679, Quinault had been restored to favor. Proserpine was first performed at St. Germain-en-Laye in February of 1680. Though seventeenth-century audiences were familiar with the story of Proserpine being carried off into Hades from numerous ballets and stage plays, Quinault returned to the source in Ovid's Metamorphoses to embellish the plot. In addition to details drawn from Ovid, Quinault added some of his own, making Proserpine among the most convoluted of Lully's operas. While the prologue alludes to King Louis XIV in the guise of Jupiter, the play itself refers specifically to the king's recent victories over the Spanish and Dutch when Jupiter battles and defeats the giants. Robert Isherwood notes that Jupiter's trip to Phrygia may represent Louis' inspection of Flanders after its defeat in 1679.
Contributing Partner: UNT Music Library