Jerry's journal


This week I researched for background and supplemental information on Italian Baroque opera. While I initially set out to look for historical information surrounding the time period I found it hard to actually define a specific end period for Baroque opera. It seems that it was developed in the late 1600s and reached its height around the mid to late 1700s. I couldn't find a specific period when Baroque opera ends but I found the years surrounding the rise and fall of "opera seria" and "opera buffa". Opera seria seems to be the genre that most involves baroque so at this point I want to assume that the rise of "opera buffa" can also roughly mark the end of baroque. More updates as I find more info.


Following Brian's proposal advice I decided to look more into the collaborative nature of Vivaldi and his operas. I discovered that he had his own librettist, Domenico Lalli, who fled his hometown of Naples from charges of embezzlement to settle in Venice in1710. This information was from a review of a recording of Vivaldi's Arsilda, Regina di Ponto. Although this information was from a review, I thought the historical information as well as how the author characterizes the traits of baroque opera and her summary of Arsilda were very useful in contextualizing our subject. I want to look more into the historical context of the time period we chose so my goal for the week is to find more sources on the the history and socio-economic climate surrounding our period.


I found a really helpful book that goes over most of Vivaldi's life. My responsibility in researching in our group has been mostly about finding out more about Vivaldi's other operatic works and the collaborative nature of composing opera. The book gives some background information on his early life and then goes into detail on his works, especially focussing on his later operas. I think this book and author are fairly credible sources because looking into the author's history, he wrote his phD dissertation on Vivaldi and his operas and his primary research interests lie in Baroque opera, especially the works of Vivaldi. I think both this author and this book in specific are going to be very useful in our research and presentation.

We are done with presentations! While I am glad that we got to go first and get the anxiety out of the way I feel that our group would have benefited greatly from having some more time to get together and actually rehearse our presentation. I definitely think that we all put a lot of time and effort into our research but I think we could have spent a little less time on Vivaldi and a little more time relating his work back to our argument. I do realize that this was one of the points Brian made to us from the beginning. I guess we all thought we were following his advice, just not enough. This of course is only hindsight after having seen other group's presentations and comparing our content with theirs but overall, despite being cut off in the end I thought our presentation went fairly well.


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Your journal does a good job to document the journey you've gone on as a researcher. I like that you're approaching difficult historiographic questions - i.e. when does the Baroque begin and end? You point to the fact that there are some arbitrary ways to define this, and one goal you should make for yourself is to see where other scholars define the beginning and ending of the era and why.

Glad that you looked into the collaborations Vivaldi was making. As you think about people like Lalli, consider more than simply their biography. What are the artistic practices associated with this person? How did this person innovate or fit into the dominant aesthetic of the time? Were there political connections that this person had at all? Remember that, while specific information is always helpful, overall you're not trying to simply present us with figures and dates. You want your info to factor into a certain argument you're trying to make.

Good job overall


Your third entry does a good job to articulate a way of assessing an author's credentials (i.e. he did his PhD research on Vivaldi, and thus must be an expert). See if you can think more about what specifically the author is saying about the person. Is there an argument in the book? Does it produce new information on the man? What are the key points and how do they factor into your presentation?

Glad you picked up on the need to bring your research back to a main argument. You'll find that organizing a presentation around an argument actually makes things much easier since then you can make sense of how things fit together, rather than seem disparate.


Final blog grade: 88%

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