Dramma per musica (Italian, literally: drama for music, plural: drammi per musica) is a libretto. The term was used by dramatists in Italy and elsewhere between the mid-17th and mid-19th centuries. In modern times the same meaning of drama for music was conveyed through the Italian Greek-rooted word melodramma (from μέλος = song or music + δρᾶμα = scenic action). Dramma per musica never meant "drama through music", let alone music drama.
A dramma per musica was thus originally (in Italy in the 17th century) a verse drama specifically written for the purpose of being set to music, in other words a libretto for an opera, usually a serious opera (a libretto meant for opera buffa, i.e. comic opera, would have been called a dramma giocoso). By extension, the term came to be used also for the opera or operas which were composed to the libretto, and a variation, dramma in musica, which emphasised the musical element, was sometimes preferred by composers.
In the 18th century, these terms, along with dramma musicale, came to be the most commonly used descriptions for serious Italian operas. Today, these are known as opera seria , a term that was little-used when they were created.
The terms continued to be used in the early 19th century after Gluck's reforms had effectively ended the dominance of opera seria: for example, some of Rossini's later serious operas were designated "dramma in musica".
Examples of drammi per musica are Cavalli's Xerse (1654), Erismena (1656), Vivaldi's Tito Manlio (1719), Mysliveček's Il Bellerofonte (1767), Gluck's Paride ed Elena (1770), Salieri's Armida (1779), Mozart's Idomeneo (1781) and Rossini's Otello (1816), as well as numerous libretti written by Pietro Metastasio.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
In music, an aria is a self-contained piece for one voice, with or without instrumental or orchestral accompaniment, normally part of a larger work. An aria is a formal musical composition unlike its counterpart, the recitative.
Opera buffa is a genre of opera. It was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas variously classified by their authors as commedia in musica, commedia per musica, dramma bernesco, dramma comico, divertimento giocoso.
Opera seria is an Italian musical term which refers to the noble and "serious" style of Italian opera that predominated in Europe from the 1710s to about 1770. The term itself was rarely used at the time and only attained common usage once opera seria was becoming unfashionable and beginning to be viewed as something of a historical genre. The popular rival to opera seria was opera buffa, the 'comic' opera that took its cue from the improvisatory commedia dell'arte.
Italian opera is both the art of opera in Italy and opera in the Italian language. Opera was born in Italy around the year 1600 and Italian opera has continued to play a dominant role in the history of the form until the present day. Many famous operas in Italian were written by foreign composers, including Handel, Gluck and Mozart. Works by native Italian composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, are amongst the most famous operas ever written and today are performed in opera houses across the world.
Pasquale Anfossi was an Italian opera composer. Born in Taggia, Liguria, he studied with Niccolò Piccinni and Antonio Sacchini, and worked mainly in London, Venice and Rome.
Dramma giocoso is a genre of opera common in the mid-18th century. The term is a contraction of dramma giocoso per musica and describes the opera's libretto (text). The genre developed in the Neapolitan opera tradition, mainly through the work of the playwright Carlo Goldoni in Venice. A dramma giocoso characteristically used a grand buffo scene as a dramatic climax at the end of an act. Goldoni's texts always consisted of two long acts with extended finales, followed by a short third act. Composers Baldassare Galuppi, Niccolò Piccinni, and Joseph Haydn set Goldoni's texts to music.
Giuseppe Nicolini was an Italian composer who wrote at least 45 operas. From 1819 onwards, he devoted himself primarily to religious music. He was born and died at Piacenza.
Giuseppe Farinelli was an Italian composer active at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century who excelled in writing opera buffas. Considered the successor and most successful imitator of Domenico Cimarosa, the greatest of his roughly 60 operas include I riti d'Efeso, La contadina bizzarra and Ginevra degli Almieri. More than 2/3 of his operas were produced between 1800-1810 at the height of his popularity. With the arrival of Gioachino Rossini his operas became less desirable with the public, and by 1817 his operas were no longer performed. His other compositions include 3 piano forte sonatas, 3 oratorios, 11 cantatas, 5 masses, 2 Te Deums, a Stabat mater, a Salve regina, a Tantum ergo, numerous motets, and several other sacred works.
Armida is an operatic 'dramma per musica' by Antonio Salieri in three acts, set to a libretto by Marco Coltellini. The plot is based on the epic poem Gerusalemme liberata by Torquato Tasso. Lully, Traetta, and Handel had already composed operas based on the situations that Tasso originally developed. The plot of all of these, and Salieri's work, is based on the relationship between Armida and the Crusader Rinaldo.
Giuseppe Maria Orlandini was an Italian baroque composer particularly known for his more than 40 operas and intermezzos. Highly regarded by music historians of his day like Francesco Saverio Quadrio, Jean-Benjamin de La Borde and Charles Burney, Orlandini, along with Vivaldi, is considered one of the major creators of the new style of opera that dominated the second decade of the 18th century.
Gennaro Astarita was an Italian composer, mainly of operas. The place of his birth is unknown, although he was active in Naples for many years. He began his operatic career in 1765, collaborating with Niccolò Piccinni in the writing of the opera L'orfana insidiata. He became the maestro di cappella in Naples in 1770.
Giuseppe Lillo was an Italian composer. He is best known for his operas which followed in the same vein of Gioachino Rossini. He also produced works for solo piano, a small amount of sacred music, and some chamber music.
Giovanni Schmidt was an Italian librettist.
Teatro San Samuele was an opera house and theatre located at the Rio del Duca, between Campo San Samuele and Campo Santo Stefano, in Venice. One of several important theatres built in that city by the Grimani family, the theatre opened in 1656 and operated continuously until a fire destroyed the theatre in 1747. A new structure was built and opened in 1748, but financial difficulties forced the theatre to close and be sold in 1770. The theatre remained active until 1807 when it was shut down by Napoleonic decree. It reopened in 1815 and was later acquired by impresario Giuseppe Camploy in 1819. In 1853 the theatre was renamed the Teatro Camploy. Upon Camploy's death in 1889, the theatre was bequeathed to the City of Verona. The Venice City Council in turn bought the theatre and demolished it in 1894.
Giovanni Domenico Freschi was an Italian composer and Roman Catholic priest. From the age of 22 until his death he worked as a church musician and composer in Vincenza. He was also active as an opera composer from 1671 to 1685.
Semiramide riconosciuta is a dramma per musica in two acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer. It is the composer's fifth opera and the second that he composed for a theatre in Italy. The text is an adaptation of a pre-existing libretto by Pietro Metastasio that had already been set to music by numerous other composers. The opera had its premiere at the Teatro Regio Turin on 3 February 1819.
Semiramide is a dramma per musica in three acts by Antonio Vivaldi composed to a libretto by Francesco Silvani.