What Is A Libretto

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What Is A Libretto
What Is A Libretto

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Libretto is a term widely known among inveterate theatergoers. With this word, which has Italian roots, it is customary to call the text version of a work performed on a theatrical stage.

What is a libretto
What is a libretto

The meaning of the term

Libretto is a word that came to Russian from Italian. Literally translated from the original language, it means "little book", representing a diminutive form from the main word "book" - "libro". Today, a libretto is a complete text of a piece of music performed on stage, and in most cases it has to do with operatic art.

The reason for this to a large extent looks obvious: for example, ballet works for the most part are staged so that the viewer watching the action from the audience can understand what the performance is about by the movements of the actors. Opera is a different matter. A significant part of the works performed today on the world's best stages are examples of the so-called opera classics, which include operas written several centuries ago in Italy, France or Spain. At the same time, such works are usually performed in the original language, therefore, an uninitiated person who is not familiar with the plot underlying the opera may find it difficult to understand what exactly is being discussed.

In order to get a general idea of ​​this, it is enough, perhaps, to familiarize yourself with the summary of the opera by purchasing a program in the theater hall. However, the laconic text presented in it is not able to give a complete picture of all the intricacies of the plot. Therefore, an attentive viewer, intending to visit the famous opera, will take the trouble to read its libretto.

At the same time, the word "libretto" is not identical to the literary work, on the basis of which the opera was possibly written. For example, the libretto of the opera War and Peace differs markedly from the original by Leo Tolstoy. One of these differences is that opera texts are written primarily in verse. In some passages of the libretto, scores of the most noteworthy passages of the musical work for which they were created may be given.

Examples of

In most cases, the opera is based on well-known literary works, on the basis of which the libretto is created by specialists in this field. At the same time, sometimes a librettist can write an independent work: for example, this is how the libretto of the opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronia was written, which was written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

In some cases, the composer himself is the author of the libretto for his opera, using a well-known literary work: this is what, for example, Alexander Borodin did when creating the opera "Prince Igor". And some composers even use the original work as a libretto, like, for example, Alexander Dargomyzhsky, who used Alexander Pushkin's work "The Stone Guest" for this purpose.

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