Dynamic Elements of Venetian Opera (DEVO)
Dynamic Elements of Venetian Opera (DEVO) 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 up to 1680 it was most often performed in private palaces. Venice established a celebrated model for entrepreneurial opera where by several theater operated simultaneous, and no personal invitation was required to attend. However, fees were charged and all the theaters that endured more than a few years expected its clientele was rent boxes by the year. The centrally important point about Venetian opera is not that it was "public" but that it was extraordinarily prolific, akin to Hollywood films of recent decades. Opera had an ever broader footprint, but the role of Venetian opera up to 1760 was very conspicuous, with eventual decline in the later eighteenth century.
This initial 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, were published by Stanford University Press in 2007.)
The central value of a correct chronology is that dates, when aligned with these short segments of the year demarcated by (nominally) religious feasts, disclose drammaturgical associations that reflected and reinforced cyclical cultural emphases. Viewed over the century 1660-1760, mutations in meaning show the effects of economic and social change, creating a rich portrayal of conflicting sources the contributed to the solidification of this art form.