The Monmouth College

Department of Classics


the Eighteenth Annual


Bernice L. Fox Classics Lecture


Che Faró Senza Euridice?:
The Role of Greco-Roman Culture
in the Creation and Development of Opera


Dr. James Betts
the Department of Music
Monmouth College

The first operas were created in Florence at the end of the 16th. century by a group of performers and patrons inspired by their studies of music as part of Greek theater. While the original goal of reflecting Greek performance practices was soon lost, the influence of Greek and Roman mythology and history has remained in opera to the present. This presentation will examine three facets of this relationship. First, we will consider how Florences humanist tradition contributed to its role in the birth of the operatic form. A brief survey of operas based on mythological or classic historical sources will follow. Finally, this survey will be complemented by a case study (with musical examples) of one myth, that of Orpheus and Eurydice, and its transformations for use in operas by Peri, Monteverdi, Gluck, Haydn, Offenbach, Milhaud, and Birtwistle and musico-dramatic works by Moraes and Jobim and Amouyal.

Monday, October 28, 2002
7:30 P.M.
Highlander Room
The Stockdale Center
Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois