While understanding the concept of all-sung opera, seventeenth-century English impresarios and their audiences also understood opera to mean spoken plays with a large amount of added music. The works have been given a variety of descriptive titles including `semi-operas', `ambigues', `multi-media spectaculars', and, most appropriately, `dramatick operas'. As well as four big dramatick operas, Henry Purcell also wrote a small all-sung masque, Dido and Aeneas, which is one of the few works of the century which fulfils a modern ideal of `opera'. The music of Purcell's operas has long been studied in detail, but it is only in recent years--and not by all scholars--that the operas have been taken seriously as dramatic entities. Consideration of the pieces have been hampered by the lack of availability of the texts of the operas, for while the music has long been edited and played, the sections of spoken dialogue have been almost entirely ignored. This volume, the first complete collection of the texts, redresses the balance. It presents to the reader the complete entertainment as prepared by the author on each occasion. Included are editions of both the 1689 libretto of Dido and Aeneas and its later incarnation as a series of masques in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, together with the playtext, the original published texts of Dioclesian, King Arthur, and The Fairy-Queen, and a transcription of the manuscript of The Indian Queen. An appendix to the volume shows the song texts as actually set by Purcell.
`Taken as a whole it will prove an essential companion to Purcell's operas - or at least to the five in question.' Musical Letters, vol. 82, no. 3 `it is a pleasure to commend ... the style of the introductions to each of the edited texts in the main body of the volume. Musical and literary sources are clearly and straightforwardly summarized, details of dating and performance succinctly set out so far as they are known, and relevant authorities cited.' Musical Letters, vol. 82, no. 3 `As usual Dr Burden's ideas are presented in a fresh and stimulating way' Musical Letters, vol. 82, no. 3 `presented according to the most scrupulous standards of modern scholarship.' David Hopkins, June 2001 `By presenting the Purcellian playbooks in an appropriate context of the practice and aesthetics of their period, this book may help to give us what we still lack in terms of an adequate discourse for their modern stage realization.' Michael Burden, TLS, 4 May 2001 `In an enjoyably no-nonsense account of the respective playbooks ... Andrew Pinnock, sniping mercilessly en route at printers, editors and bibliographers, underlines the discrepency between the words as imparted to us on the page and the necessary lopping and pruning likely to have taken place before the theatrical premieres ... By presenting the purcellian playbooks in an appropriate context of the practice and aesthetics of their period, this book may help to give us what we still lack in terms of an adequate discourse for their modern stage realisation.' Michael Burden, Times Literary Supplement
Number Of Pages: 552
Published: 1st June 1999
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51 x 3.81
Weight (kg): 0.92