Start Date
Place
Notes
Source
1590
Italy
A group of musicians and intellectuals gather in
Count Giovanni de Bardi's camerata (salon) and
discuss and experiment with music drama. It is
during this period that opera is born. Jacopo
Peri's Dafne, the first Italian opera, is produced in
1598 and Euridice in 1600.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0151192.ht
ml June 2008
1597
Italy
An unusual entertainment takes place at the
palace of Jacopo Corsi in Florence, probably as
part of the carnival festivities before Lent in 1597.
The novelty is that the singers enact an entire
drama, with music throughout, telling the story of
Daphne who is changed into a laurel to escape
the attentions of Apollo. The select audience is
delighted. The author of the words, Ottavio
Rinuccini, says that this first opera 'gave pleasure
beyond belief to the few who heard it'.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainText
Histories.asp?historyid=ab36 December
2010
1607
Italy
The director of music at the court of Mantua
Claudio Monteverdi presents a festivity before
Lent in 1607. His entertainment adopts the latest
musical style that of opera which is just ten years
old this year. La Favola d'Orfeo described as a
'fable in music', tells in a prologue and five acts
the story of Orpheus' love for Eurydice and his
descent to the underworld to rescue her.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainText
Histories.asp?historyid=ab36 December
2010
1637
Italy
In 1637 Venice opens the first public opera
house, the Teatro San Cassiano.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainText
Histories.asp?
historyid=ab36#ixzz1883GRToR December
2010
1647
France
"L'Orfeo" was produced in France. It was
composed by Luigi Rossi who was imported by
Cardinal Mazarin who sought to bring the Italian
operatic tradition to France and mate it with the
court orchestra, Les Vingt-Quatre Vuiolons du
Roi.
http://timelines.ws September 2006
1689
England
The young women at Josias Priest's finishing
school in Chelsea England, perform Henry
Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, the first English
operatic masterpiece.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0153763.ht
ml
1690
England
In 1689, probably in December, there is a
surprising operatic premiere in London of a work
by Henry Purcell called Dido and Aenas. A group
of 'young gentlewomen', for whom the dancing
master Josias Priest runs a boarding school in
Chelsea, have been rehearsing a work
commissioned by Priest from Henry Purcell.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainText
Histories.asp?
historyid=ab36#ixzz1883GRToR December
2010
1705
Germany
Germany's first public opera house in Hamburg
has recently employed a young musician, Georg
Frideric Handel. Now, in 1705 when he is just
twenty, his first opera is on the stage. Almira is a
success. In the following year Handel travels to
the home of opera, Italy.
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainText
Histories.asp?
historyid=ab36#ixzz1883GRToR December
2010
1730
Austria
The Italian poet Metastasio produces, in Vienna,
opera libretti which are used by almost every
composer of the day.
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1786
Austria
The emperor Joseph II is reported to have told
Mozart that his opera The Marriage of Figaro has
'too many notes.'
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1871
Egypt
Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida, is commissioned
for the Cairo opera house, part of the process of
Egypt becoming westernized
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
26 Jul 1882
Germany
Wagner's final opera, Parsifal has its première at
the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. A 30-year embargo
placed on performances outside Bayreuth was
ignored by a number of opera houses, including
the Metropolitan in New York, which staged it for
the first time in 1903.
http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/public/pag
e/operatimeline Apr 2012
1884
Hungary
The Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest
was built in Italian Renaissance style.
http://timelines.ws October 2006
1897
Austria
Jewish composer Gustav Mahler is baptized a
Christian so as to be eligible to conduct the
Vienna Opera.
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1901
Italy
Vast crowds line the streets for the Milan funeral
of a national hero, the 87-year-old composer
Giuseppe Verdi.
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1910
US
Enrico Caruso broadcasts by radiophone from
backstage at the Metropolitan Opera.
Billboard, 28 May 1983
1910
US
Lee De Forest broadcasts Enrico Caruso live
from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York,
but with mixed success owing to the poor quality.
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1918
International
After World War I there were changes which
inevitably altered the climate of operatic
composition. The fall of the German, Austrian, and
Russian monarchies brought an end to court
patronage, and so opera houses had to become
more commercial in their dealings. Often this
meant restricting the basic repertory to a group of
two or three dozen acknowledged masterpieces -
a group which even today includes little later than
Wozzeck (1925) and Turandot (1926).
Oxford Companion to Music
02 Aug 1921
Italy
Opera singer Enrico Caruso (b.1873) died in
Naples, Italy. The body of the great tenor Enrico
Caruso was entombed for 6 years in a
transparent coffin.
http://timelines.ws October 2008
1923
France
Albert Roussel's opera-ballet Padmâvâti is
premiered in Paris.
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1923
Germany
Alban Berg composed his opera "Wozzeck." It
was based on the 1836 play by Georg Buchner
and featured the rhythmic speech song called
Sprechstimme.
http://timelines.ws October 2008
29 Nov 1924
Italy
Italian composer Giacomo Puccini (b.1858) died
in Brussels before he could complete his opera
"Turandot." Franco Alfano finished it. His death
marked the end of a 300-year tradition of Italian
opera
http://timelines.ws October 2008
13 Mar 1933
Germany
Wagner's opera "Die Meistersinger" was used to
celebrate the first Nazi-dominated Reichstag and
became the Third Reich's national festival opera.
http://timelines.ws October 2006
1934
Germany
Paul Hindemith's opera Mathis der Maler is
banned by the Nazis and is not performed until
1938 in Zurich.
net/timesearch/default.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1935
Russia
Leningrad's opera and ballet company is
renamed the Kirov, in memory of the city's
recently assassinated commissar.
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1946
UK
Sadler's Wells Ballet moves to the Royal Opera
House in Covent Garden (and is known from
1956 as the Royal Ballet).
ttp://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/default.
asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
24 Mar 1953
US
NYC television station WNBT broadcasts The
Parrot, by Darrell Peter, the first opera written for
television on commission by a commercial
sponsor.
Merritt, The Fifties
31 Oct 1953
US
Carmen, the first major opera to be televised in
color, is broadcast from a station in NYC.
Merritt, The Fifties
21 Nov 1953
US
NYC Opera company dismisses tenor David
Poleri, 28, because he walked off the stage
during a performance of Carmen in Chicago.
Merritt, The Fifties
06 Oct 1954
US
Contralto Marian Anderson signs a contract to
sing with the HY Metropolitan Opera Company,
becoming the first Negro singer to be engaged
by the company since its founding in 1883.
Merritt, The Fifties
17 Jul 1956
US
Metropolitan Opera Association of NY cancels its
1956-57 season because of a personnel dispute
with the American Guild of Musical Artists.
Merritt, The FIfties
1960
Canada
The Canadian Opera Association was created.
Oxford Companion to Music
13 Dec 1969
US
Metropolitan Opera officials announce that the
season will open on December 29 after striking
workers agree to return to work.
Nelson and Parker, The Sixties
1973
Australia
The Sydney Opera House opens with a
performance by Australian Opera of Prokofiev's
War and Peace.
http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/defaul
t.asp?
conid=static_timeline&timelineid=379&page
=1&keywords=Opera+timeline Apr 2012
1994
New Zealand
The New Zealand Opera School was founded in
1994 and provides intensive vocal, language,
movement and acting training with tutors of
international standing.
http://www.operaschool.org.nz/ March 2011
2000
UK
In 2000 the Opera and Music Theatre Forum
found 6.4 per cent of the British population had
been to a performance that year and that interest
was growing rapidly.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2003/mar/0
9/wageslaves.careers February 2011
2003
UK
The pay varies: a salaried member of a chorus
can earn between £16,000 and almost £30,000
a year. A principal gets from £100 to £1,000 a
performance. A known name can receive £5,000,
a very well known name up to £10,000. Extremely
well known names ask whatever they want.
Pavarotti's fees are legendary.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2003/mar/0
9/wageslaves.careers February 2011
2003
UK
Today, according to Equity, the union for
performing artists, there are at least 1,850 opera
singers in the UK, competing for opportunities
with the five state-funded companies and a clutch
of smaller outfits.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2003/mar/0
9/wageslaves.careers February 2011
2009
UK
The world-renowned Russian baritone Dmitri
Hvorostovsky, once dubbed "the Elvis of opera",
has been ordered to pay his former wife a bigger
share of his yearly £1.8 million earnings. A panel
of appeal court judges ruled that Svetlana
Hvorostovsky, who gave up her ballet career to
follow her former husband around the world's
opera houses, should receive an extra £25,000 a
year, increasing her "undoubtedly low" previous
total annual payment of £170,000 to £195,000.
Giving the ruling, Lord Justice Thorpe said while
Svetlana, 50, had not worked since abandoning
her career for the marriage, the career of her
former husband, 47, who won the BBC Cardiff
Singer of the World competition in 1989, had
gone "from strength to strength".
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jul/23/dmit
ri-hvorostovsky-divorce-payment February
2011
10 Oct 2009
France
Tonight (October 10), Anna Netrebko opens a
revival of L'Elisir d'Amore at Paris' Opéra
Bastille. Like Alagna's recent triumph in Carmen
at Covent Garden and Karita Mattila's Tosca at
the Metropolitan Opera, all of these will receive
the same top fee: 15,000 Euros (or the
equivalent in dollars). Not a centime more says
the article. Travel and living expenses are paid by
the artist. Netrebko arrived in Paris with her
husband, the baritone Erwin Schrott, their one-
year-old son, Tiago, and the nanny, on
commercial transportation. There is no question
of a private plane like those Sharon Stone or
Mick Jagger might use.
http://blog.scena.org/2009/10/opera-singer-
fees-revealed.html February 2011
2010
Australia
Government officials in Australia have unveiled
$132 million in new funding for the Sydney Opera
House for a major upgrade of the landmark.
http://www.cbc.ca 6 June 2010
14 Jun 2010
Lithuania
The Lithuanian Minister of Culture has ordered an
investigation into accounting irregularities at the
National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius. The
allegations relate to State money allocated for
reconstruction work at the venue. The apparent
errors and omissions in the accounts suggest
public procurement procedure abuse on the part
of the management. Contracts, it is alleged, were
awarded to companies favoured by the
management for inflated fees.
http://www.classicalmusic.org.uk/2010/06/sta
te-inspectors-investigate-corruption-claims-
at-vilnius-opera-house.html December 2010
Opera Timeline
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