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Thread: Numbers vs. through-composed

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    Default Numbers vs. through-composed

    Hello, I'm very new to this. Could anyone give me examples of numbers opera versus through composed. A friend was telling me that Otello and Tosca were the latter while The Berber of Seville was numbers. More examples or a list would be appreciated. Also what is Wagner considered? the works of Britten? Thanks

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Pretty simplistically, numbers operas are typically arias/duets/choruses surrounded by recitative or spoken dialogue. Most operas written before around mid-19th century are numbers operas--think Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, etc. Most late 19th century and early 20th century opera are through-composed, particularly Wagner, who was ideologically and aesthetically opposed to the form of numbers operas. Verdi is an interesting case, since he started off writing numbers operas and his compositions became more through-composed over time.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Pretty simplistically, numbers operas are typically arias/duets/choruses surrounded by recitative or spoken dialogue. Most operas written before around mid-19th century are numbers operas--think Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, etc. Most late 19th century and early 20th century opera are through-composed, particularly Wagner, who was ideologically and aesthetically opposed to the form of numbers operas. Verdi is an interesting case, since he started off writing numbers operas and his compositions became more through-composed over time.
    Yes. IMO Verdi wrote the greatest example of through-composed opera in Falstaff. In it we see an incredible blend of melody combined with a line of unbroken opera. Incredible. And to think the guy was about 8 years older than me when he wrote it!
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-25-2018 at 22:43.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Yes. IMO Verdi wrote the greatest example of through-composed opera in Falstaff. In it we see an incredible blend of melody combined with a line of unbroken opera. Incredible. And to think the guy was about 98 years older than me when he wrote it!
    So you're minus nine years old? Now I understand...

    EDIT: You've revised your post, changing 98 to 8. That makes things much less interesting.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-25-2018 at 23:57.

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    That's weird. DavidA says 8 years in his post but Woodduck says 98 in his quote? How does that work? That aside, Falstaff is not a patch on anything written by Wagner, Richard Strauss or Britten in terms of through-composition.
    No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    That's weird. DavidA says 8 years in his post but Woodduck says 98 in his quote? How does that work?
    DavidA's post originally said 98 years. He revised it after I quoted it.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-25-2018 at 23:58.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Falstaff is not a patch on anything written by Wagner, Richard Strauss or Britten in terms of through-composition.
    Don't you think Falstaff is a masterly opera? I wouldn't rate anything by Strauss or Britten more highly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyttonio View Post
    Hello, I'm very new to this. Could anyone give me examples of numbers opera versus through composed. A friend was telling me that Otello and Tosca were the latter while The Berber of Seville was numbers. More examples or a list would be appreciated. Also what is Wagner considered? the works of Britten? Thanks
    Ah, The Berber of Seville - where a wily North African outwits a conservative Spanish doctor.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    That's weird. DavidA says 8 years in his post but Woodduck says 98 in his quote? How does that work? That aside, Falstaff is not a patch on anything written by Wagner, Richard Strauss or Britten in terms of through-composition.
    woodducj's quote was wrong.verdi was eight years older than me. If you want to believe that 'Falstaff is not a patch on anything written by Wagner, Richard Strauss or Britten in terms of through-composition' that's your privilege, but I know in my own mind Falstaff is superior to anything they wrote. It is the greatest opera after Mozart IMO. But please don't argue about it as I know I won't change your opinion and you won't change mine
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-26-2018 at 07:59.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    woodducj's quote was wrong.verdi was eight years older than me. If you want to believe that 'Falstaff is not a patch on anything written by Wagner, Richard Strauss or Britten in terms of through-composition' that's your privilege, but I know in my own mind Falstaff is superior to anything they wrote. It is the greatest opera after Mozart IMO. But please don't argue about it as I know I won't change your opinion and you won't change mine
    My quote of your post was correct, exactly as you originally wrote it. It was obviously a typo which you corrected after I quoted you. Be honest. Most of your readers will prefer it.

    How do you "know in your own mind" that Falstaff is "superior" to any opera after Mozart? What does that even mean?
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-26-2018 at 08:15.

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Don't you think Falstaff is a masterly opera? I wouldn't rate anything by Strauss or Britten more highly.
    Perhaps I was a bit harsh. Some posts have a tendency to provoke me into responding in kind. Falstaff is a great score and is a match for anyone although it wouldn't be my first choice.
    No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Perhaps I was a bit harsh. Some posts have a tendency to provoke me into responding in kind. Falstaff is a great score and is a match for anyone although it wouldn't be my first choice.
    Sorry but I can't see anything 'harsh' in my post #3. I was just expressing my opinion.

    I have no problem with you expressing yours but pleSe don't imply my post was 'harsh'

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Sorry but I can't see anything 'harsh' in my post #3. I was just expressing my opinion.

    I have no problem with you expressing yours but pleSe don't imply my post was 'harsh'
    I am actually responding to Woodduck. The post I was referring to was my own post #5 to which W. responded to in post #7. If you look at post #11 you will see that it is W.'s post that I am replying to. Nothing at all to do with anything you posted. Try reading the thread properly before commenting

    Btw - pleSe??
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Oct-26-2018 at 09:32.
    No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    I am actually responding to Woodduck. The post I was referring to was my own post #5 to which W. responded to in post #7. If you look at post #11 you will see that it is W.'s post that I am replying to. Nothing at all to do with anything you posted. Try reading the thread properly before commenting

    Btw - pleSe??
    Glad I haven't upset you

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Glad I haven't upset you
    Not in the slightest!
    No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden.

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