An Evening at the Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice

Edward Muir

in The Oxford Handbook of the New Cultural History of Music

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195341867
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

An Evening at the Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice


This article describes what it was like to attend the very first operas that were composed and performed during the early seventeenth century and were made popular in the commercial theaters in Venice. It studies the complications of early opera placed upon composers and dramatists, and shows that female voices in the opera were “echoed” by the female singers in convents. The carnival mask, the comic theater, and the influence of the Jesuits are discussed. The latter portion of the article focuses on the changes that occurred in the Venetian theaters during the seventeenth century.

Keywords: first operas; commercial theaters; Venice; complications; female voices; carnival mask; comic theater; Jesuit influence

Article.  9777 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Musicology and Music History

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