A new discovery is on its way to boost the Gluck Complete Edition, headed by the Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature, as the editing project nears its completion. Project manager Tanja Gölz authenticated eleven vocal pieces from Gluck’s opera Poro found in a Berlin antiquarian bookshop and originating from an anonymous private collection. These include eight arias that had previously been considered lost and were therefore completely unknown to Gluck researchers. Composed in 1744 for the Teatro Regio in Turin, Poro is one of Gluck’s early opere serie, of which only individual numbers have survived in the form of copies, subsequently created parts, or isolated selections.
On this basis, the historical-critical edition of the fragmentary opere serie is presented in two parts of the Gluck Complete Edition published by Bärenreiter, thus making another facet of the hitherto almost unknown early work of the opera reformer available to scholars and performers. As a result of the newly found short score and canto e basso copies, which were likely made for rehearsals and thus within the immediate context of the world premiere, the proportion of Poro’s musical text has increased to a total of 14 complete numbers (including the sinfonia), which is almost 50 percent of the original, full-length work.
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The image above features È prezzo leggiero, Gandarte’s entrance aria from Gluck’s opera Poro (Turin 1744). Listen below to pieces from Gluck’s Alceste, including the work of U.S. soprano Jessye Norman.
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The catalogue arias of late eighteenth-century Italian opere buffe focus on lists; subjects may include enjoyable activities, foods, things for sale, or types of people (by nationality, social rank, occupation, personal qualities, and so on).
Their progress often involves shorter and shorter syntactic units: Sentences give way to phrases, then to one- or two-word groups, accelerating the rate of accumulated information—the comic frenzy is actually built into the text itself. This textual compression often involves two rhetorical devices: asyndeton (omitting conjunctions) and anaphora (beginning successive lines or phrases with the same word).
This according to “Catalogue arias and the ‘catalogue aria’” by John Platoff, an essay included in Wolfgang Amadé Mozart: Essays on his life and his music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. 296–311).
Much vocal music has been transcribed for tuba, but little is available for advanced-level players. Coloratura opera arias offer material that would be challenging for more experienced tubists, and these types of arias are much less text-dependent than other kinds of vocal music.
This according to Guidelines for transcribing coloratura opera arias for tuba, with transcriptions of three arias by Vivaldi, Gluck, and Delibes by Robert Lynn, a 2005 dissertation for Ball State University.
Above, a performance by TubaDiva (Jennifer Paradis-Hagar); below, Alessandro Fossi performs Musetta’s aria “Quando me’n vo” from Puccini’s La Bohème.
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