Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Brown and Suzana Ograjenšek

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199558551.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 23 July 2019

Phaedra’s Handmaiden

Phaedra’s Handmaiden

Tragedy as Comedy and Spectacle in Seventeenth-Century Opera

Chapter:
(p.67) 4 Phaedra’s Handmaiden
Source:
Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage
Author(s):

Wendy Heller

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199558551.003.0004

This chapter explores the tension between theory and practice in mid-seventeenth century Italian opera, characterized by an apparent lack of interest in the literary substance of ancient tragedy and an almost excessive preoccupation with its theoretical underpinnings. The first part examines some of the contemporary writings about theatrical genres, including several of the oft-cited comments of Venetian librettists, in which the persistent self-deprecating and apologetic manner has been taken by scholars as evidence of the librettists' awareness of the literary inferiority of their creations. It demonstrates how these comments coalesced into a surprisingly coherent aesthetic — one in which the trappings of tragedy were readily translated into spectacle and comedy. The second part of the chapter considers how this aesthetic manifested itself in several operas that adopted elements from Greek tragedies. It examines in particular the performance of Fedra incoronata (‘Phaedra Crowned’, 1662), the first part of an elaborate trilogy presented in Munich to celebrate the birth of Maximilian II Emanuel (1662–1726), son of Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria, and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy.

Keywords:   Greek tragedy, librettists, opera libretto, Italian opera, Fedra incoronata, Phaedra Crowned, spectacle, comedy

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .