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An Introductions to the Art of Singing Italian Baroque Opera



An Introductions to the Art of Singing Italian Baroque Opera:

A Brief History and Practice


Gloria Chu Young Chung-Ahn

Doctor of Musical Arts in Music

University of California, Los Angeles, 2015

Professor Michael Dean, Chair

At the start of this dissertation, my original intention was to offer insight into performance practices of opera in the late baroque period in the form of a guide to young singers. As I delved into this subject matter, I began to realize how much this subject could not be understood until the singer had an understanding of the beginnings of baroque music pertaining to its considerable historical significance in the development of opera as well as its overall perceived styles. The term baroque, in itself, has caused much confusion for those in academia and more so to students who endeavor to recreate an authentic baroque sound and performance.

Upon evaluating my own understanding of baroque music and its reaches into the

operatic art form, I decided to include in this dissertation an abridged history of the baroque period such as terms and ideas that every young musician should be familiar with, as well as contributions to baroque opera of famous composers and singers, whose names became synonymous with the term Baroque. I offer a study of famous baroque arias from Handel’s masterpiece Giulio Cesare in Egitto, including different styles of ornamentation and interpretation from some of the best resources available, divas in our own time. It is my sincere hope that this, along with the performance practices of opera relating to such characteristics as acting, gestures, costumes, instrumentation and orchestra, ornamentation and singing style, and a discussion of performance halls common during baroque times and those used in modern times, will help singers interpret and understand baroque opera in the context of baroque music.

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