Opera Orchestra of the 17th Century: Between Renaissance and Classicism

Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

Year: 2023



Opera Orchestra of the 17th Century: Between Renaissance and Classicism

Stacy Jarvis




The article is devoted to the theatre orchestra of the 17th century. Inspired by the variety of ensemble music of the Renaissance, he was distinguished by timbre-textural mobility. The interpretation of the orchestra is considered on the examples of operas by Monteverdi, Landi, Chesti.
The orchestra as a new form of collective music-making began to take shape at the end of the 16th century. The origins of the orchestra are in a wide variety of Renaissance ensemble music. The strongest stimulus for the development of the orchestra was the emergence of a new genre – opera. It is in the opera orchestra that new instruments appear, new playing techniques arise, new types of texture are ‘explored’. Ultimately, the formation of the symphony genre is largely connected with the opera.
Opera scores by Italian composers of the 17th century played a huge role in the development of the orchestra as a collective with a colossal resource of expression. This article will briefly review the interpretation of the orchestra in the operatic heritage of Monteverdi, Landi and Chesti.
The theatrical legacy of Monteverdi contains many examples of experimentation in the field of instrumental performance techniques. Lundy abandons the tradition of full instrumental duplication of the choral score. This is the first example of its kind in operatic literature. The dynamic juxtaposition of “forte – piano” in one of the “symphonies” can also be attributed to innovative solutions.
Formed in the 17th century, the orchestra del Drama is a kind of experimental platform. Many individual timbre and texture solutions will be systematized within the symphony orchestra of the new era. The study of how the transition was made from the diversity dictated by the characteristics of national schools (primarily Italian and French) and the individual artistic searches of composers to the classical model of the orchestra will provide a more accurate idea of ​​the history of orchestral styles.

keywords: orchestra, opera, score, Monteverdi