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The purpose of this paper is to acknowledge the importance of Antonio Montagnana's vocal and dramatic abilities and to show how they contributed to George Frideric Handel's method of composing for the bass voice in opera. George Frideric Handel's operatic roles for the bass voice are quite varied, with some vocal selections more appropriate today for baritones and others better suited for basses. It was common practice for Handel and his contemporaries to tailor the vocal writing of their music for the singers in a given cast. One such singer was basso, Antonio Montagnana, whose principal association with Handel began in 1731 and ended in 1733. During this brief period of time, Handel composed several notable operatic roles and arias for Montagnana. By focusing on Handel's compositional style before Montagnana's arrival and during their association, the author intends to show not only Handel's ability to adjust to his singers' capabilities, but also Montagnana's strengths as a complete musician. Giuseppe Maria Boschi, Handel's principal bass prior to Montagnana, will be discussed briefly in order to draw a comparison with the changes made in Handel's compositional technique for the bass voice after Montagnana joined Handel's company. All three operatic roles premiered by Montagnana, Varo in Ezio (1732), Altomaro in Sosarme (1732), and Zoroastro in Orlando (1733), will be examined with respect to both the musical and dramatic choices made by Handel. These roles represent diverse characterizations and a variety of vocal challenges for the singing actor, and provide a testament to the talents and skills of this incomparable basso.
Giuseppe Maria Boschi, Antonio Montagnana, Handel, bass, Ezio, Sosarme, Orlando, Varo, Altomaro, Zoroastro, Second Academy
Date of Defense
October 31, 2006.
A Treatise submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Music.
Includes bibliographical references.
Stanford Olsen, Professor Directing Treatise; Charles Brewer, Outside Committee Member; Roy Delp, Committee Member; Douglas Fisher, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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