Baroque v Bel Canto

11 Mar

I’ve been doing some performances of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor this week – quite fun, really. It set me thinking why I don’t find this sort of thing entirely satisfactory: give me a Handel opera any day. Yet both composers write according to rigidly defined conventions, so why am I emotionally involved in one, and left cold by the other? After due consideration, I concluded that the problem with Donizetti is that if you ignore the words, you can’t tell whether the music accompanies tragedy or comedy – it seems the same in both cases. On the other hand, our chubby baroque anniversarian can somehow depict how a singer feels before they even utter a note. Now if only he wrote bigger timpani parts…

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Posted by on 11 March 2009 in Music


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