Looking Back

Thoughts on Early Music Performance

Bückeburg's Fair Lady

The secular cantata Pygmalion belongs to a genre that is peculiar to the 18th century – that of the melodrama. Meaning a musical drama, either in the sense of opera or of spoken drama interspersed with music, it became a hybrid form in the late 18th century to mean sung and/or spoken text accompanied by music, often of a programmatic nature. Short lived in popularity, the genre is dominated by the work of Georg Benda. J. C. F. Bach’s Pygmalion, while sung, belongs to a specific genre of melodrama called monodrama, in which only one person carries the speaking voice. Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Pygmalion (1770), labeled scène lyrique, is generally viewed as the prototype of the melodrama. The sto

Embracing the past. Enriching the future.

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