Klett-Cotta-Verlag Psychology

Grenzüberschreitung in Monteverdis L´Orfeo oder: Warum schläft Caronte ein?

Neues zur Entstehung der Oper

Oktober 2008, 12. Jahrgang, Heft 48, pp 37-54

The Overstepping of Boundaries in Monteverdi´s »L´Orfeo« or Why Does Caronte Fall Asleep?
New thoughts on the genesis of opera

The traditional belief that has persisted for centuries in the »birth of opera from the spirit of Greek tragedy« has long obstructed any differentiated examination of the genesis of the genre and is now considered obsolete; it has even been exposed as a »myth of music historiography« (Silke Leopold). The present text attempts to show that it was precisely the renewal of ancient myths from the position of the authors´ own time and its intellectual climate – the process of reshaping and updating – that was an important motive for establishing the new musical genre. From this perspective it becomes clear how in Striggio´s and Monteverdi´s L´Orfeo aspects of the libretto´s content the discovery of new musical means of affective expression and the new form of presentation combine to create a unique constellation deeply rooted in the contemporary culture of the time. The concept of overstepping boundaries transpires here as a mediator between art and science.

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