Chapter

Transmission Versus Tradition

in Divas and Scholars

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780226304823
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226304885 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226304885.003.0003
Transmission Versus Tradition

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A completed opera would be rehearsed for about a month. In dire circumstances, rehearsals would begin before the last act had been drafted. Composers often tailored their scores to the abilities of their singers and made many modifications for artistic reasons, independent of the predilections of individual singers. Revision and polishing continued throughout the rehearsal period, often creating confusion in the subsequent transmission of an opera. The texts transmitted through written sources do not embody the performance traditions. Only rarely does a particular reworking of an opera, by later performers, become part of a continuous written record, although some transmitted reworking has had a pernicious influence on the history of a work. The occasional publication of an aria with the ornamentation of a favorite singer almost never influenced the text of the work from which the aria was taken.

Keywords: rehearsals; composers; texts; transmission; performance tradition; opera; aria; ornamentation

Chapter.  16420 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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