This idea of progress, thumbing one’s nose at the intentions and designs of the deities, was understood to be tantamount to the worst possible crime that could be committed by man against the gods. Understandings of progress and an appreciation for mythology has pervaded European culture throughout the centuries. As such, at the time that operatic dramas began to be exhibited within Europe, near the beginning of the Baroque period, an understanding and general appreciation for the compliments of mythology and the idea that humans were merely the playthings of the gods, was carried alongside the musical development and plot design that came to define these operas. As a function of understanding this to a more full and complete degree, the following analysis will discuss the way in which Faustini and Cavalli’s “Calisto” as well as Quinault and Lully’s “Atys” represented mere mortals that were operating merely as pawns in a struggle for self-determination and freedom from the gods. Although this may be relevantly understood with regards to a description and discussion of mythology, the following analysis will present such a determination with regards to the way in which the musical composition of the individual librettos indicates this in and of itself. Firstly, with regards to the way in which a sense of helplessness is represented and the overall resignation to fatalism is accepted in both pieces, the listener must be keenly aware of the nuanced transition from major to minor keys to take place throughout the individual librettos. These transitions occur not indiscriminately but with respect to the subject matter that is being engaged in the actual plot development that is occurring. Ultimately, the individual characters briefly hope for a release from the fatalistic and resigned nature that they have experienced; however, as reality begins to seep in and they become more and more aware of the hopelessness of determining their own flight and fighting for their own future, the transition from major to minor invariably occurs (Deacon 37). Whereas the human spirit is represented as eternally hopeful, this hope turns into doubt, foreboding, and resignation as these individual shifts take place. Another means through which the fatalism is evidenced throughout both of these respective pieces is with regards to the dramatic pause that the composers were able to provide. Whereas a dramatic pause in music has been utilized for a great many things, the dramatic pauses that were included within the librettos included pointed to the fact that the characters in question were becoming fully aware of the reality of their situations and/or considering the foolishness of their hopeful expectations. Invariably, these dramatic pauses were leveraged as a means of alerting the viewer that a shift in thinking and a fundamentally different approach than had previously been presented was taking place. Another mechanism through which hope, despair, and fatalism is presented is with regards the way in which an uptick in tempo and an increase in the suspense of the music prior to revelations of actions by the gods and the means by which these will impact upon the respective characters is exhibited. In this way, a type of foreshadowing is created by the respective composers as for knowledge
Name Date Course Section/# Libretto Analysis: A Discussion of Fatalism in Faustini and Cavalli’s “Calisto” as well as Quinault and Lully’s “Atys” One of the first aspects of understanding that come to mind with regards to reading ancient European mythology is with regards to the fatalism that it is inherently represented to the viewer/reader/listener…
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