Baroque Opera and Oratorio

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    The baroque opera and oratorios sound very similar. The main difference however is that the opera is secular and the oratorio is sacred. I never really thought to think of the difference between the two. I thought only operas told stories about drama, but oratorios tell stories of drama in basically the same way...musically. If you hear one of each, it is hard to tell the difference if you can't figure out the topic. If you can see it, then it is easier to tell thee difference. With operas, in addition to the instrumental music and vocals with some dialogue, there are also actors and stage scenery to tell the story. The opera is performed on a stage in a theater while the oratorio is performed in a sacred place like church.
    Using these techniques, each can describe an unfolding story through beautiful music. However, I think the more entertaining of the two would be the opera. The opera is meant to entertain the audience while oratorio may or may not entertain the audience, but sometimes used for worship.  Both of them however share a common key feature and that is the recitative and the aria. I think of these like the cadenza in a concerto where the solo performer shows off. In the opera and oratorio, the recitative is a short intro to the aria which is meant for the star of the performance to let loose with their singing abilities during an important part of the story that may be the climax or a pivotal moment. Having the oratorio relying on the vocals of the singers to convey the story, it usually has a large chorus with many voices in polyphonic style to support the performance.
       It is strange to think that the opera uses many Greek stories to convey with music, while the oratorios use the Bible and other sacred works. These both have their roots from a common cause, to tell a drama that the audience will love in you way or another. I thought it kind of silly that the Greek Cameratas did not allow women to act in the dramas. Men dressed up to play the roles of the women characters. I would think they would need that high female voice to sing the part but they found males who could sing the high notes instead. Watching David Daniels in his counter-tenor performance almost seems unnatural to hear those noises come from a mans mouth, but it serves the purpose of the high notes that need to be sung without the help of a woman's natural ability.  Seeing the practices of surgical castration to keep testosterone levels down in young males so they could sing as a soprano was disturbing and seemed very wrong to do. Listening to the early recording of the last castrati was very strange to hear. Thinking the voice was a woman but knowing that it was a man. Good thing they started to allow women to preform and the practice of castrating for voice was banned and unnecessary.

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Before reviewing this module I also thought there was no difference between an opera and a oratorio but then learned of the slight difference between the two. If I was ever to attend an opera of any kind I would want to review as much material as I could on the story so I knew what the topic was and what would be going on in the story. I also thought it was wrong and disturbing to hear of the male custom to use castration to keep their voices high to fill the femal role. WHy didn't they just pick a female? A girl could of done a more realistic job and given a better performance.

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