Synopsis[ edit ] The theme of the opera can be summarized as "Which is the greater art, poetry or music? This was a topic of discussion at the time of the setting, as in an opera named for the issue, Prima la musica e poi le parole First the Music and Then the Words Salieri, This question is dramatized in the story of a Countess torn between two suitors: Olivier, a poet, and Flamand, a composer. This sextet is in reality a very fine composition for string sextet and is played in concert form as a piece of chamber music, independent of the opera. Olivier and Flamand debate the relative powers of words and music.
|Published (Last):||17 July 2006|
|PDF File Size:||9.20 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||10.68 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Synopsis[ edit ] The theme of the opera can be summarized as "Which is the greater art, poetry or music? This was a topic of discussion at the time of the setting, as in an opera named for the issue, Prima la musica e poi le parole First the Music and Then the Words Salieri, This question is dramatized in the story of a Countess torn between two suitors: Olivier, a poet, and Flamand, a composer.
This sextet is in reality a very fine composition for string sextet and is played in concert form as a piece of chamber music, independent of the opera. Olivier and Flamand debate the relative powers of words and music. They engage in a rather furious argument which is semi-spoken rather than sung in definable arias. The theatre director La Roche wakes from a nap, and reminds them both that impresarios and actors are necessary to bring their work to life.
La Roche, Olivier and Flamand proceed to a rehearsal. In turn, she tells her brother that his love of words is in keeping with his attraction to the actress Clairon. The Countess admits that she cannot decide which of her suitors she prefers. They leave to join La Roche at the rehearsal. Olivier tells the Countess that he means the sonnet for her.
Flamand then sets the sonnet to music, while Olivier declares his love for the Countess. Flamand sings them his new composition, accompanying himself on the harpsichord. Olivier feels that Flamand has ruined his poem, while the Countess marvels at the magic synthesis of words and music. Flamand declares his love for the Countess and poses the question — which does she prefer, poetry or music? She asks him to meet her in the library the next morning at 11, when she will give him her decision.
She orders chocolate in the drawing-room. Madeleine tells him of her reluctance to choose between her two suitors, and the brother and sister gently tease each other again. Refreshments are served as dancers and two Italian singers entertain the guests. The discussion is lively, even aggressive on the part of the men. The Count declares that "opera is an absurd thing". La Roche describes his planned two-part birthday entertainment for the Countess, the "Birth of Pallas Athene" followed by the "Fall of Carthage".
The guests laugh and mock his extravagant ideas, but La Roche, in a monologue of the merits, attacks what he sees as the weakness of these contemporary youngsters, whose creations fail to reach the heart; he defends his faith in the theatre of the past and his own work as a mature director and a preserver of the great traditions of the arts. He challenges Flamand and Olivier to create new masterworks that will reveal real people in all their complexity.
The Countess manages to reconcile the three, urging them to make peace, pointing out how their arts are interdependent; she commissions the pair to collaborate on an opera. The Count and Clairon depart for Paris with the theatre company. In a witty touch, the next scene consists of the servants commenting, as they clean up the room after the guests have all left, on how absurd it would be to portray servants in an opera.
The Major-Domo discovers the prompter, Monsieur Taupe, who has fallen asleep and has been left behind. In a scene of much humour, Monsieur Taupe explains that it is actually he who is the most important person in the theatre — without him, there would be no entertainment. The Major-Domo listens patiently and then arranges for food and his transport home. As evening falls, the Countess returns, having dressed for supper, and learns from the Major-Domo that her brother has gone to Paris with Clairon, leaving her to dine alone.
The Major-Domo reminds her that both Olivier and Flamand will meet her in the library in the morning to learn the ending of the opera. Alone, and still undecided as to both the ending of the opera and her choice of lover, she sings of the inseparability of words and music. In like manner she tells herself that if she chooses one she will win him but lose the other. The opera is a light-hearted treatment of a serious subject: the relative importance of music, poetry, dance and theatre, cleverly set as an opera within an opera.
Abstract Capriccio Is the text more important? Or is it rather the music that dominates? It is his last opera, written when he was nearly Capriccio, however, is anything but dry discourse about the dominance of language or music in opera. In a salon near Paris, a theater director, a poet, a composer, and actress, and the count who loves her passionately discuss the nature of various artistic genres.
Capriccio, op. 85
It took up the quarrel waged in the 18th century by fans of the Italian composer Puccini, who advocated that words should reign supreme in opera, against the defenders of Gluck, for whom the music was pre-eminent. Out of this dry subject matter, Strauss created a magnificent work, crammed with musical and literary references, full of charm and intelligence, great lyricism and a startling vivacity. Elegance and virtuosity, humour and sensitivity are scattered throughout the text and score of this masterpiece; Strauss put a great deal of himself and his own philosophical ponderings into it. In this case, it is impossible to choose between the respective merits of words and melody.