The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera

By John Warrack; Ewan West | Go to book overview

D

da capo aria. Although 18th-cent. arias could embrace a wide variety of moods and emotions, they were usually constructed according to a uniform tripartite scheme, in which the third section was a repetition of the first and which the singer was expected to ornament. This form is thus generally referred to as the da capo aria, a term deriving from the Italian for 'from the head' (i.e. beginning). Though its supreme master was Hasse, examples can be found in composers from Monteverdi to Mozart and beyond. See also ARIA.

Daguerre, Louis (b Corneilles, 18 Nov. 1787; d Bry-sur-Marne, 10 July 1851). French physicist, painter, and designer. Though widely known as a pioneer of photography and inventor of the Daguerrotype ( 1839), he was also an influential scenic designer. After working in the theatre, he moved to the Paris Opéra in 1822, where in his first designs (with * Cicéri), for Isouard Aladin, ou La lampe merveilleuse, he exploited the theatre's installation of gaslight with his own gift for lighting effects. At the Diorama, the theatre he also opened 1822, he developed a number of new pictorial and mechanical effects, and he made use of these at the Opéra to support Cicéri in giving French *Grand Opera a new scenic realism and splendour. He was largely responsible for banishing the old Italian system of wings, with their formation of a series of corridors and denial of perspective; and his contribution to the heightened realism of Cicéri's sets included the creation of the illusion of moving clouds, perhaps covering and then revealing the moon (which might move slowly during a scene), trees casting shadows when the sun came out, and many similar devices. He was responsible for the introduction of the panorama, especially exploited by Cicéri.

Daland. A Norwegian sea captain (bs), father of Senta, in Wagner Der fliegende Holländer.

Dalayrac, Nicolas-Marie (b Muret, 8 June 1753; d Paris, 26 Nov. 1809). French composer. His first stage works date from 1781, but his real success came with the production of Nina in 1786; this set a fashion for sentimental comedy, and already contains the seeds of the greater human and musical subtlety he was to bring into opéra-comique. It influenced Paisiello in his setting of the same story ( 1789), which in turn influenced the development of *opera semiseria. During the 1790s his works were among the most significant to reflect the perilous and alarming times in their plots, their handling of character, settings frequently gloomy or sinister, and in the new attention to moral issues. Camille ( 1791) concerns a wife's unjust imprisonment. Léon ( 1798) and especially Léhéman ( 1801) similarly treat imprisonment and freedom in the *rescue opera genre, and are also significant for their pioneering use of *reminiscence motive to draw music and plot into a closer dramatic relationship. This new development, with its consequent greater attention to the role of the orchestra in opera, helped to win Dalayrac a significant following in Germany, where his works figured in many repertories and helped to provide example and stimulus to the development of German Romantic opera. As well as writing memorable short romances, he was able to use ensemble and chorus with a new dramatic fluency. In these matters, especially in his intelligent and inventive use of motive, he influenced Méhul and hence the next generation of French and German opera composers, Berlioz and Weber among them.

Dalibor. Opera in 3 acts by Smetana; text by Josef Wenzig, after the legend, translated from German into Czech by Ervín Špindler. Prem. Prague, Novomĕstské T, on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the Prague, N, 16 May 1868.

Prague, late 15th cent. Dalibor (ten) has been captured by his enemies and imprisoned for his assassination of the Burgrave in revenge for the killing of his friend Zdenĕk. The Burgrave's daughter Milada (sop) begins to feel pity for him. Disguising herself as a boy, she apprentices herself to the gaoler Beneš (bs), and takes Dalibor's beloved violin to his dungeon. She is wounded in the attempt to rescue Dalibor and dies in his arms; he stabs himself.

In Czechoslovakia the work has been regarded as a *rescue opera with a sig-

-112-

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Key to Vocal Compasses x
  • Abbreviations xi
  • A 1
  • B 28
  • C 72
  • D 112
  • E 144
  • F 157
  • G 181
  • H 218
  • I 241
  • J 251
  • K 259
  • L 277
  • M 305
  • N 356
  • O 370
  • P 384
  • Q 419
  • R 421
  • S 449
  • T 505
  • U 525
  • V 529
  • W 545
  • X 563
  • Y 564
  • Z 565
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