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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    What's the difference between ...

    ... an overture and a prelude?

    Feel free to answer and to add any other questions along the same lines.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post
    ... an overture and a prelude?

    Feel free to answer and to add any other questions along the same lines.
    Cool. I'll continue.

    Overtures are generally longer, more complex, recovering themes from other parts of the opera, and are played before the opera starts, while preludes are shorter, don't necessarily recover musical themes from the opera, and while some operas start with a prelude, they can also be played before acts, not just at the beginning of the opera. Some famous overtures are played as stand-alone concert pieces while preludes generally are only played with the opera.

    Next question - what is the difference between mezza voce and sotto voce?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Overtures are generally longer, more complex, recovering themes from other parts of the opera, and are played before the opera starts, while preludes are shorter, don't necessarily recover musical themes from the opera, and while some operas start with a prelude, they can also be played before acts, not just at the beginning of the opera. Some famous overtures are played as stand-alone concert pieces while preludes generally are only played with the opera.
    Speaking from a Wagnerian bias: an overture tends to be a crowd-pleasing potpourri of hummable tunes from the opera, while a prelude is more of a distinct, unified symphonic work unto itself.

    For that reason, Wagner's preludes (Tristan, anyway) do turn up as concert pieces.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Speaking from a Wagnerian bias: an overture tends to be a crowd-pleasing potpourri of hummable tunes from the opera, while a prelude is more of a distinct, unified symphonic work unto itself.

    For that reason, Wagner's preludes (Tristan, anyway) do turn up as concert pieces.
    That's why I said "generally." Exceptions do exist.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Speaking from a Wagnerian bias: an overture tends to be a crowd-pleasing potpourri of hummable tunes from the opera, while a prelude is more of a distinct, unified symphonic work unto itself.

    For that reason, Wagner's preludes (Tristan, anyway) do turn up as concert pieces.
    Or not quite an evening



    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post

    Next question - what is the difference between mezza voce and sotto voce?
    I think mezza voce is the voce that comes on lot's of little plates that you have with friends and wine while on the continent. I'm not sure about sotto voce so let me look it up in Grove.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    I think mezza voce is the voce that comes on lot's of little plates that you have with friends and wine while on the continent. I'm not sure about sotto voce so let me look it up in Grove.
    Sotto voce is probably some type of cheese . . .

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Next question - what is the difference between mezza voce and sotto voce?
    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Sotto voce is probably some type of cheese . . .


    Now now children, this is supposed to be serious!!

    Mezza - half

    Sotto - soft

    But I wouldn't know the difference when I heard it.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Next question - what is the difference between mezza voce and sotto voce?
    I have a different question that this prompted. What is Mezzovoce? (one word or two words, I am not sure)
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    I have a different question that this prompted. What is Mezzovoce? (one word or two words, I am not sure)
    Mezzovoce isn't anything because this word doesn't exist. Voce is feminine; la voce, so, it's mezza, because in Italian this word behaves like an adjective that changes according to the word it describes. Mezza for feminine singular (like in mezzaluna), mezzo for masculine singular, mezze for feminine plural, and mezzi for masculine plural.

    You must be thinking, then, why it's sotto voce and not sotta voce? Because sotto is Italian for "under," so it is a preposition, not an adjective. It doesn't change gender. Sotto voce is "under the voice" while mezza voce is "at half voice."

    Now, there is a series of TV concerts in Ajaccio, Corsiga, called Mezzo Voce, but I guess it has more to do with the Mezzo TV, likely a sponsor or co-producer. It's not classical music, though.

    But the question about the difference between mezza voce and sotto voce in terms of singing, hasn't been entirely answered yet. I guess I shouldn't be the one answering it, though, if I understand well Annie's game. So, someone else should answer, then ask a new question.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Mezzovoce isn't anything because this word doesn't exist. Voce is feminine; la voce, so, it's mezza, because in Italian this word behaves like an adjective that changes according to the word it describes. Mezza for feminine singular (like in mezzaluna), mezzo for masculine singular, mezze for feminine plural, and mezzi for masculine plural.

    You must be thinking, then, why it's sotto voce and not sotta voce? Because sotto is Italian for "under," so it is a preposition, not an adjective. It doesn't change gender. Sotto voce is "under the voice" while mezza voce is "at half voice."

    Now, there is a series of TV concerts in Ajaccio, Corsiga, called Mezzo Voce, but I guess it has more to do with the Mezzo TV, likely a sponsor or co-producer. It's not classical music, though.

    But the question about the difference between mezza voce and sotto voce in terms of singing, hasn't been entirely answered yet. I guess I shouldn't be the one answering it, though, if I understand well Annie's game. So, someone else should answer, then ask a new question.
    There are no rules. You can ask/answer as many questions as you want.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Seriously now -- is sotto voce nearly a whisper? Perhaps akin to what in English would be a remark uttered "under one's breath?"

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Seriously now -- is sotto voce nearly a whisper? Perhaps akin to what in English would be a remark uttered "under one's breath?"
    I think you're right.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Seriously now -- is sotto voce nearly a whisper? Perhaps akin to what in English would be a remark uttered "under one's breath?"
    Exactly; mezza voce is at half volume (with subdued and moderated volume but still quite audible), while sotto voce is just a whisper, a very low voice that is intended not to be overheard, as in hushed, and it is validly idiomatically translated into "under one's breath."

    Your turn to ask a question.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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