Hannah's Page

11.13.12

My research for this project has been very basic so far. We have simply been trying to choose a specific artist who was not only alive during the Baroque period of Italian Opera, but also someone who was interesting, progressive and maybe even controversial. I spent a lot of time navigating my way through lists of composers and skimming through their biographies, major works and the historical context in which they composed. When we finally settled on Antonio Vivaldi, I breathed a sigh of relief because now I could go deeper with my research and find sources more interesting than the fact-filled Wikipedia.

I know how to use lib.umn.edu...I've been doing it for a long time...however, it seems as though Vivaldi doesn't want to hang out in there. I have searched for articles, books and many other materials, but the only items that continue to appear are audio (which is great) but not when it comes to my research. However, now that we have formatted our presentation and sketched out what we want to discuss, I think my searches will be more specific and thus successful. I have gone to the library as well and checked out an actual book! Tangible and everything...wow. Exciting. Until I skimmed through it and discovered it mentioned Vivaldi once. I can probably still use it for historical context as well as my research on the cultural climate of the times, but still. Disappointed.

My goal for this week is to find specific articles and other sources on my portion of the presentation which we will decide on by Thursday. I also want to hunt down a really great media clip of Arsilda, Regina di Ponto so that our classmates can get a better idea of what we're talking about.

11.18.12

This proved to be a challenging week for our group as we divide up the work and narrowed our focus. Research is always difficult, especially when we have something so specific to research. I took on the opera itself, Arsilda, Regina di Ponto and the controversy surrounding its censorship. It was nearly impossible to find anything on the history, specifically the reasons for censorship and what it meant for Vivaldi as a composer. I understand why the play was censored-two women falling in love with each other-but I wanted to find more dirt! All I was able to find after hours of research were two CD reviews that not only provided plot summaries, but also some history regarding the censorship.
I did however learn that the recording being reviewed was the first recording of Vivaldi's original version of the score. Raymond Tuttle discussed the significance of this and whether or not a conductor should always choose the original rather than a censored version even if it was the one most performed. I found this to be a very interesting discussion and am considering discussing it when I take on my portion of the presentation.
In the end I was very frustrated with my research this week and was disappointed with my findings. I have the essential material (the plot, the history) and hope that when I combine with with Leo's finding on the social climate of Italy in the time of Vivaldi as well as the rest of our group's research, I will have more to work with.

11.25.12

Now that we have narrowed our focus and developed our argument, it has become a lot easier for me to organize my information. I have also taken on the responsibility of researching another key opera by Vivaldi, "Juditha Triumphans" which really pulls from the historical context we have researched. Discovering the significance of this opera and applying it to our main argument has been very helpful for my understanding of the cohesion of our presentation. I feel like if we end with a discussion of these two operas we will be able to tie everything together.
Due to the fact that "Juditha" is an allegory for Venice reclaiming stolen territory, it shows that Vivaldi was attempting to create works that instilled a new sense of pride in his people since they were struggling through the transition of power and cultural changes that did not resemble their own. Opera was the main source of entertainment during the time of Vivaldi so he used his voice to inspire his audiences and remind them of their power and cultural prestige. Epic, really.
While my research for "Juditha" still proved to be difficult, I still believe I obtained enough information and relevant research to make a strong argument and end our presentation with a clear conclusion. We'll see how it goes!

12.2.2012

Well, that went by quickly! I can't believe my group is done presenting...I think when I was standing up there I was a little in shock considering we had only just started our research. But then when I was waiting for my turn to speak, I realized the amount of work we had put in! While I am a little frustrated that the presentation got pinched for time near the end (my time to speak), I am still very proud of my group. We each did our own part in great depth and stuck to our "Divide & Conquer" roots. I believe we had TOO much to say, however...hence why our presentation had to be cut short and felt rather inconclusive.

I think it is obvious that everyone worked very hard. The amount of information that we found along with the media is proof of that. We all found Vivaldi interesting, but maybe too interesting? If that's possible...we each had put so much work into our separate parts that we wanted to share it with the class. Understandable, but also a downside of group projects. I think that if our schedules would have been a bit lighter the week of our presentation, it would have been nice to get together to rehearse. It was simply impossible! And I think that overall we did the best we could and our presentation turned out okay. There are always things I would like to improve on (time management, cohesiveness, memorization), especially when it came to the structure of our presentation and sticking to our initial argument, but I am proud of my group and I think we worked very well together considering I didn't know a single member previous to the research...

Woohoo, group! Thanks for you hard work :)

2 Comments

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Hannah,

This is a very nice entry in terms of documenting your experience as an historian searching for clues about a far-removed time and place. I like that you seem to have found some non-traditional ways of learning about Vivaldi (i.e. the CD reviews - who'd have thunk those would be useful?! However, be sure that you're thinking about the quality of these sources - who is writing this CD review and on what are they basing their analysis?).

It's interesting that you're thinking through some historiographic questions somewhat tangentially. For instance, your description of the Tuttle discussion on whether a conductor should use the original version might lead to interesting questions on authenticity of written music and recordings. We are taking certain recordings as expressions of Vivaldi, but are these perhaps different in some ways from what he intended?

You're doing a good job to look for specifics, and even though it seems like it's been a tough road, you definitely seem to be finding fertile ground. THe library website is indeed hard to navigate - if you still find yourself looking for useful info, one possibility is looking at music history textbooks.

Good job overall!

Bryan

Hannah,

Your 3rd entry shows some good thoughts in terms of thinking through the logic of ordering in your group presentation. Ending with the comparison of the two operas does seem like a good way to tie everything together, but you describe accurately the difficulty of the time pinch in getting out all your information. Hopefully this illustrates the importance of frontloading your argument (something that can be applied to almost any college project). While you may not have been able to present the two operas at the beginning of the presentation, what would have helped is to articulate the major questions you're asking or what argument you're making at the beginning. This would have made all the pieces fit together a little more clearly, and also helps in case you get cut off before you can fully discuss your personal contribution.

Good work overall!

Bryan

Final Grade: 95%

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