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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: The myth of Orpheus in the origin and evolution of opera
Degree Type: Other
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Dr Anne Leahy
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: September 2005
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (54pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
Abstract: This dissertation examines the place and relevance of the myth of Orpheus in the origin and evolution of operatic form, tracing the Orphic influence on opera from the late sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. The examination will focus primarily on the Orpheus operas of the following composers and librettists:
Claudio Monteverdu and Alessandro Striggio Orfeo (1607)
C.W. von Gluck and Ranieri Calxabigi Orfeo ed Eurdice (1762)
Jacques Offenbach, Hector Cremieux and Ludovic Halevy Orphee auz enfers (1858)
The study was approached in a chronological manner beginning with the myth itself and its use in early literature and then jumping forward to the late sixteenth century to consider its ole in the birth of opera. From there, the methodology was primarily to consider, through the above referenced works and their composers, the effect of the myth on operatic art and vice versa. In such a consideration, the mutual effect of Orpheus and opera on each other becomes almost self-evident.
This dissertation will demonstrate how the myth of Orpheus influenced and inspired composers and librettists throughout the ages and occurs at many of the pivotal points of operatic history helping to instigate and perpetuate new musical and theatrical ideals.

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