Dynamic Elements of Venetian Opera (DEVO)

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Dynamic Elements of Venetian Opera (DENO) contains the underlying data reported sequentially in The New Chronology of Venetian Opera and related genres (1660-1760). This critical period in the development of European opera saw constant change. Opera theaters arose in cities across Europe, although in its formative period it was most often performed in private palaces. Venetian opera established a celebrated model for entrepreneurial opera. (Most writers in English term this "public" opera because there were no barriers to entry except fees, some of the fees were steep relative to economies of the time.) The centrally important point about Venetian opera is that it was extraordinarily prolific, akin to Hollywood films of recent decades. Opera had an ever broader history, but the role of Venetian opera up to 1760 was very considerable.

This prolixity makes it difficult to appreciate the many fault lines that existed between theaters, composers, and librettists. Prolixity also meant that languages of performance came to differentiate short theatrical periods that made up the mosaic of this endlessly busy milieu. In a society in which only priests and accountants saw the year as being ordered by numbered months and days, social, religious, and political life was ordered by feasts. These had the peculiar property that some were fixed and some were moveable--according to lunar motion. These differences imposed on chronicles (and other commentaries) many flaws that have repelled solutions until now. (The rationals, mechanics, and narrative flaws of early centuries are discussed in Song and Season: Science, Culture, and Theatrical Times in early modern Venice, a companion to The New Chronology. Both books, by Eleanor Selfridge-Field, are published by Stanford University Press.)

The central point about a corrected chronology is that, especially on account of the articulation of these short segment of the year demarcated by religious feasts, they disclose dramaturgical associations that were mutated as the year progressed, then repeated the following year.