Four well-known personalities compete to take on the prestigious task of conducting a full act of a legendary opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Maestro at the Opera - Netflix

Type: Reality

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2012-05-04

Maestro at the Opera - Italian opera - Netflix

Italian opera is both the art of opera in Italy and opera in the Italian language. Opera was born in Italy around the year 1600 and Italian opera has continued to play a dominant role in the history of the form until the present day. Many famous operas in Italian were written by foreign composers, including Handel, Gluck and Mozart. Works by native Italian composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, are amongst the most famous operas ever written and today are performed in opera houses across the world.

Maestro at the Opera - The spread of opera abroad - Netflix

In Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth a tradition of operatic production began in Warsaw in 1628, with a performance of Galatea (composer uncertain), the first Italian opera produced outside Italy. Shortly after this performance, the court produced Francesca Caccini's opera La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d’Alcina, which she had written for Prince Władysław Vasa three years earlier when he was in Italy. Another first, this is the earliest surviving opera written by a woman. Gli amori di Aci e Galatea by Santi Orlandi was also performed in 1628. When Władysław was king (as Władysław IV) he oversaw the production of at least ten operas during the late 1630s and 1640s, making Warsaw a center of the art. The composers of these operas are not known: they may have been Poles working under Marco Scacchi in the royal chapel, or they may have been among the Italians imported by Władysław. A dramma per musica (as serious Italian opera was known at the time) entitled Giuditta, based on the Biblical story of Judith, was performed in 1635. The composer was probably Virgilio Puccitelli. Cavalli's operas were performed throughout Italy by touring companies with tremendous success. In fact, his Giasone was the most popular opera of the 17th century, though some critics were appalled at its mixture of tragedy and farce. Cavalli's fame spread throughout Europe. One of his specialties was giving his heroines “ground bass laments”. These were mournful arias sung over a descending bass line and they had a great influence on Henry Purcell, whose “When I am laid in earth” from Dido and Aeneas is probably the most celebrated example of the form. Cavalli's reputation caused Cardinal Mazarin to invite him to France in 1660 to compose an opera for King Louis XIV's wedding to Maria Teresa of Spain. Italian opera had already been performed in France in the 1640s to a mixed reception and Cavalli's foreign expedition ended in disaster. French audiences did not respond well to the revival of Xerse (1660) and the specially composed Ercole amante (1662), preferring the ballets that had been inserted between the acts by a Florentine composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully, and Cavalli swore never to compose another opera. Cesti was more fortunate when he was asked to write an opera for the Habsburg court in Vienna in 1668. Il pomo d'oro was so grandiose that the performance had to be spread over two days. It was a tremendous success and marked the beginning of Italian operatic dominance north of the Alps. In the late 17th century, German and English composers tried to establish their own native traditions but by the early 18th century they had given ground to imported Italian opera, which became the international style in the hands of composers such as Handel. Only France resisted (and her operatic tradition had been founded by the Italian Lully). This set the pattern until well into the 19th century: the Italian tradition was the international one and its leading exponents (e.g. Handel, Hasse, Gluck and Mozart) were often not natives of Italy. Composers who wanted to develop their own national forms of opera generally had to fight against Italian opera. Thus, in the early 19th century, both Carl Maria von Weber in Germany and Hector Berlioz in France felt they had to challenge the enormous influence of the Italian Rossini.

Maestro at the Opera - References - Netflix