M502. Second paper assignment
1. Write an analytical essay of 750 words on one aria from ?Petrosellini/Cimarosa, L'italiana in Londra. In your paper, use poetic, textual and musical evidence to argue that the aria you choose represents a particular kind of piece for a particular sort of character. Do not just narrate or describe the piece; structure your paper as an argument in support of your view. Cite specific examples from the text and music. Provide lots of musical detail; consider lots of musical features. You can make reference to comparable pieces we have studied, but that is no substitute for pointing out particular characteristic features. Suggestion: Make sure you understand what kind of character sings the aria you choose (by reading the libretto and looking at other arias) before you assert that your piece is of a particular kind; sometimes characters are given mock-serious arias.
2. Write an analytical essay of 750 words on the solo music for one character from ?Petrosellini/Cimarosa, L'italiana in Londra. In your paper, use poetic, textual and musical evidence to argue that the character you choose represents a particular dramatic and musical type. Do not just narrate or describe the pieces; structure your paper as an argument in support of your view. Cite specific examples from the text and music. Provide lots of musical detail; consider lots of musical features. You can make reference to comparable pieces we have studied, but that is no substitute for pointing out particular characteristic features.
Your paper is due before class on Tuesday, November 2.
This opera is a two-act intermezzo designed for a cast of five for performance in Rome. It was later presented as an independent opera buffa, including in Vienna in 1783 and 1786. In fact most of Da Ponte and Mozart's Figaro cast took part:
Madama Brillante Maria Mandini Marcellina
Livia Nancy Storace Susanna
Milord Arispingh Stefano Mandini Count
Don Polidoro Francesco Benucci Figaro
This production substituted several arias, some by Cimarosa and some not, that made it more like typical Viennese operas. The version available for study here is the original Rome production, not the Vienna version; some of the Vienna singers (especially Nancy Storace) sang different pieces.
You will find the vocal score useful for many aspects of the piece; you can check it against the autograph full score (linked below) and the recording.
Note that the recording makes many cuts--you should write about the full aria.
New Grove synopsis of the plot
Outline of the work
Arias by character
Text and translation [poetic organizations are mostly wrong--check against the original libretto]
Full score (autograph, c. 1779) Act I Act II
Recording [on MCO].
Individual arias as mp3s.
Please do not write about Cimarosa, this opera overall, or music history in general. Start right in with the composition(s), and stick to a point about its (their) type.
Be certain you understand the basic organization of the aria(s), particularly along the lines we have discussed. Consider making yourself a diagram/diagrams like the ones we have examined in class. If your analysis depends on your structural view of the aria(s), make sure you explain it/them to the reader.
Before printing your final version, go through the guidelines below again and see whether you have observed them. Fix things that need fixing.
Here are some guidelines for writing analytical papers:
1. Make a point. Find something you want to say about the material, state it in the first paragraph, and stick to it. Make sure you end up in the same place that you start.
2. Organize your paper around your point. Present musical evidence to support it. Exclude extraneous material, however fascinating.
3. Write in well-organized paragraphs that have clear roles in your argument. Make certain that each paragraph has an evident topic and contributes to your argument. State the point of your paragraph at its beginning, not at the end as punch line.
4. Start with the assigned music, do some analysis, and then find a point. Go back and round up the evidence that supports your point, find more if necessary, and discard everything else.
5. Make an outline and write from it. When you have completed a draft, re-outline it from the text to see whether its logic is still clear.
6. Do not narrate or simply describe music—make an analytical point about it. Use a diagram if you need to convey the order of events in a piece. Do not supply musical detail until you have first explained why it is worth noticing. Find some way to organize other than going through the piece in measure-number order.
7. In an analytical paper, avoid the temptation of writing about music history or the composer's life, or of giving a capsule history of the genre, or of making sweeping claims about music in general. Write about the piece at hand from the start.
8. Write in musical terms—avoid subjective or purely descriptive words. Write in plain English, though; don't clutter the paper with unnecessary jargon. Do not write about the process (about analyzing, noticing, or "this paper") or that things are interesting or notable; write directly about the piece. Make the composer the subject of many of your sentences.
9. Edit. Read your paper aloud. Choose every word carefully. Jettison each unnecessary word. Stick to the assigned length.
11. Use the abbreviations m. (m.6) and mm. (mm.45-48) when citing particular places in the piece.
12. Give your paper an interesting title. Do not be cute, or clever, or cryptic; be interesting.
13. Print the paper double-spaced with one-inch margins in a simple font. Do not put extra blank lines between paragraphs. Do not justify the right margin--leave it ragged. Put your name, the date and the course number at the top of the first page; do not use a title page or a report cover. Number the pages.