Yaqi Liu

PID: A10801532
MUS 4 Reading Response 1
Reading Response 1: Perspectives on Early Opera
1. Based on your reading of Monteverdi’s letter and Bernhard’s treatise, how would
you describe the primary goals of the composer in the early Baroque?
Both Monteverdi and Bernhard placed a strong emphasis on the importance
of following the appropriate rules to elicit distinct emotions and the proper
incorporation of music and speech. The primary goals of composers in early
Baroque then is to ensure the composition is able to bring the production together
in a well-incorporated and appropriate format, and also to bring forth very distinct
and strong emotions from the audience at appropriate times.
2. Both Monteverdi and Bernhard describe similar approaches to text-setting. How
is their approach different than that in music of earlier periods? Give at least one
example of a piece of music discussed in class that contrasts their conception of
text-setting.
A comparison can be made between Monteverdi and Bernhard's approach to
text setting with earlier music from the 1400's, such as Guillaume de Machaut's
Dame, de qui toute ma joie vient. While both methods focus primarily on enhancing
the speech, Baroque focuses more on preserving the rhythm and tone of regular
speech instead of singing more melodically. Monteverdi also brought up the idea
that the music should be grand and ornate, played by wind instruments instead of
delicate string instruments.
3. Based on Burney’s report of the castrato Farinelli, how would you describe the
social status of an early opera “superstar”? What kinds of metaphors or images
does Burney draw upon to depict Farinelli’s virtuosity?
Burney describes Farinelli to be of immense talent and popularity, that almost
all people have heard of him or knows someone who has, which makes him
comparable to a current day pop star. Burney described Farinelly with the imagery
of the horse Childers that was faster than all other horses, while it is a flattering
description, this reveals that opera singers are still only mainly viewed as a source
of spectacle and entertainment .
4. Based on Sharp’s report, describe the relationship between the audience and the
music in 18th-century opera in Italy.
Sharp's perception of the relationship between the audience and the music in
18-th century Italian operas can be summed up as "the Neapolitans go to see, not
to hear an opera." Not very much attention is paid to the singers as the audience all

.talk amongst themselves. The opera is seen more as a source of entertainment and a place of social gathering rather than a piece of art that the audience devotes their attention to.