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Content available remote České operní libreto
Conventional drama is also a subject area of literary research. It includes texts covering a whole range of genres, though not all are linked to the traditional medium of theatre let alone dramatic theatre. The operetta libretto is among the special genres. In common usage 'libretto' means the story the operetta is based on. The operetta libretto is a musical-dramatic genre that originated in France in the 1850s. From there it spread to other countries, particularly those of central Europe. In the twentieth century it began to stagnate until by the 1940s it was gradually giving way in the popular theatres to other genres. In the Czech cultural context the libretto developed from simple translations and adaptations of foreign works in the second half of the nineteenth century to strong home-grown works in the 1930s and 1940s but then experienced a radical downturn in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In a section devoted to a morphological analysis the article is concerned chiefly with the libretto of the 1930s and first half of the 1940s. This sort of libretto has three acts, the second of which comes to a climax in a dramatic finale and the third (usually shorter) has the form of a simple denouement. The setting was chosen to allow exotic or folk elements to be suitably linked with salon society. Authors of libretti put particular emphasis on comic effect, which alternated with the merely sentimental. In its dialogues the libretto was marked by a weak relationship between the spoken word and song lyrics (with the exception of the finale). The characters were not conceived as unique but as set types of people with conventional characteristics, particularly in behaviour, thinking, appearance, expression, and content of the spoken dialogues and sung texts. The article concludes that more research is needed on the operetta libretto, because it is a genre that exerted a wide-ranging influence on Czech culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The notion of being balladic is primarily linked to the idea of an atmosphere that is the sum of tragic, dramatic, and lyrical elements. The piercing atmosphere of balladic poetry and prose inspired several composers, and the balladic phenomenon was gradually adopted not only into short vocal genres, but also into large vocal-instrumental ones, including operas. In the course of the twentieth century, several operas were composed in Slovakia, which may be termed balladic due to their specific features. This study focuses on six Slovak operas. It examines the main inspiration factors that led their composers to adopt balladic subjects. It also introduces the motifs in the original literary works that contribute to creating this phenomenon and discusses what interventions and deviations were made with respect to the original literary model while writing the opera libretto and in what way the composers worked while composing the music to achieve the set balladic character and the musical characterization of the characters and the plot.
Dvorak's compositions created and spread around 1900, especially his opera Rusalka, touch on the aesthetic problem of rapport between the arts. What impact had the literary atmosphere here, especially on the librettist Jaroslav Kvapil? His multifaceted career, impregnated by the principles of the ‘parnassians' and symbolists, explains the eclecticism of his work - influenced by Maeterlinck and Schopenhauer, but also by Kytice by Erben.The poetic works of the young Kvapil, such as his Rusalka, document his links to an ideal of communication without words, which, disordered by its nature, is a type of non articulated language.
This paper tries to show Dvorak's compositional approach to the central values and meanings of the libretto of Rusalka, by analysis of the dynamic curve of the opera's recording. Two dynamic characteristics can be identified here - the gradually changing world of people, and the stable, silent world of the supernatural beings, differentiating in a way which is reminiscent of the treatment of dynamics in Wagner's Tristan and Debussy's Pelleas. The silent world of supernatural beings, represented especially by the enclosed strophic formations, offers the possibility of thematic introduction of an isolated fortissimo major chord, which does not gradate any more, as a symbol of the supernatural beings' idealised pure idea of 'death', 'love', 'soul' and 'sin'. In the course of the opera, the values become relative. In the final duet, Dvorak changes both worlds, the first time allocating to the Prince and Rusalka the opposite dynamic characteristics (a gradating one for Rusalka, a stable, silent one to the Prince). In the final, newly thematic fortissimo major chord, he again nods to the supernatural beings' idealised ideas of love and death, expressed at the opening of the opera, and makes his treatment of the spiritual values and concept of the libretto clear.
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