THE DIVERGENT PATHS OF OPERA IN THE CLASSICAL PERIOD AS SEEN THROUGH THE OPERATIC WORKS OF CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK AND WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Marchese, Angela Marie
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Although evidence of Gluck's influence on Mozart is sometimes discernible, by examining the two operas I have performed and a recital of arias by these two composers we can see clear contrasts in their approach to and expression of classical opera. The two operas discussed are Gluck's Armide and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Gluck and Mozart were both innovators but in very different ways. Gluck comes from a dramatic background (his principles have been compared to those of Wagner) and Mozart brings together dramatic excellence with the greatness of his musical genius, his gift of melody, and his ensemble writing, which is arguably unequaled in the repertory. A well-rounded performer strives to understand what the composer is really trying to say with his work, what the message to the audience is and what his particular way of conveying it is. The understanding of a composer's approach to drama and character interaction plays a huge role in character development. This applies no matter what role you are preparing whether it is baroque opera or late romantic. Discovering the ideals, style, and purpose of a composer contributes to an effective and rewarding performance experience, for those on stage, those in the pit, and those sitting in the seats.