How are operas written

The little book that sets the pace

The question of whether the text or the music should have more meaning in opera has preoccupied scientists for centuries. Strange actually, when the opera is about music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once said: "In an opera, poetry has to be the obedient daughter of music“And means that the lyrics should adapt to the music.

Even at the very beginning of the opera, that was around 400 years ago, the text played an important role in the opera. The composer, so the one who writes the music and the one Librettistwho wrote the text had to work very closely together. That was not always easy, because mostly both men (it was almost always only men in the story) took each other very seriously and wanted to put their art in the foreground. The librettist was also able to help make an opera a great success. Mozart, for example, wrote three operas that were texted by an Italian named Pietro da Ponte. Even today the three operas are known as the "Da Ponte operas"known. There are"the wedding of Figaro", "Don Giovanni" and "So fan tutte".

Some composers were so talented that they wrote the lyrics for their operas themselves. One of the most famous "Universal artist"as these people are called then, was Richard Wagner. But he did not invent the stories himself, but took them, for example, from the famous "Nibelungen sagas". Very often well-known stories from the literature (This means what has been written - mostly in books) taken over. So wrote the great English poet William Shakespeare some books that were then adopted by composers as operatic material: "Otello" and "Macbeth"(set to music by Giuseppe Verdi) or"Midsummer Night's Dream"(set to music by Benjamin Britten) are examples of this.
The libretti were not only important for the composer so that he could build his music around the text, they also served to ensure that the Viewer understood what it was about during the opera. In the past there were no ticker tapes on which you could read what the singers were saying on stage. Interested parties were able to enter before the performance Text booklet and buy a wax candle and keep track of what was happening. The text books enabled the librettists to earn a little extra money. Not bad either!