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Title:The Opera Theater of Count Franz Anton Von Sporck in Prague (1724-35)
Author(s):Freeman, Daniel Evan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hill, John Walter
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:The opera theater of Count Franz Anton von Sporck was the first standing public opera theater in the city of Prague, creating a taste for opera that has continued in the city until the present day. It also appears to have been the first public theater in the Holy Roman Empire to survive for a sustained period of time presenting Italian repertory exclusively. The Sporck theater probably provided the composers Gluck and Stamitz with their earliest exposure to opera and possibly attracted Antonio Vivaldi to Prague in the early 1730s.
The principal source materials used for the study were the correspondence of Count Sporck, the records of the Old Bohemian Statthalterei, and the Sporck theater librettos, which yielded a great deal of hitherto unpublished information. For the first time, it is now possible to construct a complete account of the events leading to the founding of the theater in 1724, revealing that the Italian impresario Antonio Maria Peruzzi was the true catalyst for bringing Italian opera to Prague on a permanent basis. Other discoveries include the identification of the earliest operatic aria in the Czech language, unknown autograph letters written by Jan Dismas Zelenka, Johann Joseph Fux, and Johann David Heinichen, and new information on the relations the Sporck theater maintained with opera theaters in Breslau, Brno, and other central European centers.
Perhaps the most interesting new information concerns the association of Antonio Vivaldi with the Sporck theater. It was possible to uncover a document, long reported missing, that confirms Vivaldi's assistance in recruiting Venetian singers for the Sporck theater in 1725, as well as to provide evidence that Vivaldi traded singers with the impresario of the Sporck theater throughout the late 1720s. An analysis of the Sporck theater librettos strongly suggests that a large body of unattributed Vivaldi arias was performed in the theater in addition to the six complete operas by Vivaldi performed there between 1726 and 1732. The possibility of a personal visit by Vivaldi to Prague still remains an open question, however.
Issue Date:1987
Description:441 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8803042
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1987

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