Analysis Of Susan Monteverdi's L Orfeo

1077 Words 5 Pages
Susan McClary believed, that as film and media continue the discourse on gender identities today, early-modern opera was a pioneer in the construction of gender identities to the public sphere. The construction of gender became necessary when presented portrayals of the world had to differentiate between male or female characters, as one sex could play the other. These constructions were shaped by the time and place in which the work was presented. The issue on how to represent women was controversial during Monteverdi’s time as perspectives on the female rhetoric were divided. McClary analyses Monteverdi’s L'Orfeo and believes that men had a more provocative stage presence while women had to have an innocent portrayal to remain attractive …show more content…
1-5. His declamation is almost the length of Euridice's entire part. In this piece alone, Orfeo is already given more to say than his female counterpart, depicting a greater rhetorical force in Orfeo’s character. When analyzing the diction of Euridice and Orfeo, the listener can deduce that the characters’ roles in the relationship are not equal. When Orfeo addresses his love for Euridice, it is relayed more as a performance. Before he directly expresses his emotions to Euridice, he proclaims it to someone from the heavens. His expression of love is an announcement for many to listen to. The fact that he can relay such information to humans and the gods, illustrates his powerful rhetoric. Euridice has a more intimate confession, as she sings to only Orfeo. In her shorter text she manages to say the name of the person which she loves immediately in m. 2 after hearing Orfeo go on for 21 measures without uttering “Euridice”. This delineates that Euridice’s love is only directed to Orfeo, thus, she is more confined to who she can share such sentiments with. Orfeo has free reign over who he can express his love to. Textually, it is significant to analyze how the characters view their love. Orfeo uses possessive diction when he addresses Euridice as “My love” in m. 9 and when he addresses how her faith was given to him in mm. 14-16. Euridice lets him own her in mm. 3-4 when she states …show more content…
Her initial note is the same as his first and last note. Her lack of agency in the melody as she commences her piece delineates how his musical eloquence has swayed her to mimic the same sentiments. While Orfeo has a conservative start in comparison to the rest of the piece, he sings a range of ten notes. By the time he gets to m. 4, he has sung a minor sixth interval. Euridice’s section only has a range of an octave, and her greatest interval is a perfect fifth. The perfect fifth interval only occurs twice in her section of the piece. Orfeo has many leaps by comparison. The conservative melody in Euridice’s part illustrates how much more restricted she is in how she can express herself to remain charming and modest. Orfeo’s melodic freedom and provocative leaps depict how he is more allowed to be charismatic to whoever he pleases. The significance of m. 13 in Euridice’s part is supported not just through a realistic rhythm, but by having his greatest leap in that measure between the words “sospirasti” and “felicissimo”. Again, this emphasizes the ownership he now has over her, and also the arrogance in his declamation. The lowest note Euridice sings is a D4 in m. 6, in the word “amore”. The placement of this word portrays how deep her love is for Orfeo as it is the only time she sings a D4. Her character is instantly thought of as more down to earth and genuine in her love for him. In opposition, the highest note Orfeo

Related Documents