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Monday, January 9, 2017
The term "opera" comes from the Latin opus, or "work."
Opera was the fruit of the Italian Renaissance. In the final decade of the sixteenth century, a group of artists, musicians, and poets who called themselves the Florentine Camerata met there to revive Greek drama and developed an opera in musica: a work in music. Galileo's father, Vincenzo Galilei was reportedly a member.
The earliest surviving opera (written by Jacopo Peri and Ottavio Rinuccini) is Euridice which was performed in Florence in 1600. Opera quickly spread from Florence to Rome, Venice, and all other major cities in Italy.
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Today's Random Fact:
Richard Wagner revolutionized opera by disposing of existing operatic rules and structures. He also created the "Leitmotif" (or leading theme), which is a musical theme that is associated with a main character. For example, in Star Wars, there is a different musical theme associated with Princess Leia, with Luke Skywalker, with Obi-Wan Kenobi, and with Yoda.
The famous proverb "the opera ain't over 'til the fat lady sings" in reference to buxom Brunhilde's 10-minute aria at the end of Wagner's Ring cycle operas is usually attributed to pro basketball coach Dick Motta, who in turn attributes it to San Antonio sportswriter/broadcaster Dan Cook, who says he overheard a friend say it.
Amalie Materna, who played Brunnhilde during Wagner's lifetime (1876), may be the first proverbial "fat lady".