Opera semiseria

Opera semiseria (Italian for serious comic opera ) is a generic term for a semi- serious opera: semi is a Latin prefix meaning halfway


The Opera semiseria - a hybrid of opera buffa and opera seria - the end of the 18th century developed in the works of the Neapolitan school of later composers. The pure burlesque character gave this composer no longer sufficient to be able to represent the complexity of situations and plot lines. Critical to this development influences the French Comédie were also tearful.

As early as the 1760s show many opere buffe also sentimental and sensitive traits, without, however, be in the proper sense Opere semi serie want: Niccolo Piccinni Neither " La Cecchina " (1760 ) or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni are Opere semi series. A famous example of the new type of opera, the then widespread in the 19th century, Giovanni Paisiello 's opera melancholy Nina, ossia la pazza per amore (1789 ), which is based on a French subject. As later in the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti madness is here addressed as a mental border situation.

Works (selection)

19th century

  • Le donne rivali (1780 ) by Domenico Cimarosa: The composer indeed left no outstanding work in this genre, but Le donne rivali is still capable platform.
  • Leonora ( 1804) by Ferdinando Paër: This Opera semiseria influenced Ludwig van Beethoven.
  • La gazza ladra (1817, The Thieving Magpie ) by Gioacchino Rossini: In this opera - perhaps the only real Semiseria their time at all - manages a perfect blend of serious and comical aspects. The dynamic forms of buffa (Ensemble, big finales, etc.) may be maximized for the implementation even more tragic or embarrassing situations.
  • Matilda di Shabran (1821 ) by Gioacchino Rossini: It is a work which, although offers grandiose melodic and compositional ideas, but again frozen in formulas.
  • Francesca di Foix (1831 ) by Gaetano Donizetti: It is probably the only genius Semiseria - act play, which is very amusing.
  • Linda di Chamounix (1842 ) by Gaetano Donizetti: As a late offshoot which, although rather the old type of tragedy with deposits belongs, but creates by a main character that is created comic strong links between the two elements.
  • Crispino e la Comare (1850, Doctor Crispin ) by Federico and Luigi Ricci: After 1845, the Semiseria got into Italy almost completely forgotten. The last halfway successful attempt applies this work, which could not hold on the stages, despite endless ideas and intelligent text by Francesco Maria Piave. ( Piave very often worked with Giuseppe Verdi and wrote among other things, the librettos of "Rigoletto " and "La Traviata", which does not, however, belong to the genre of opera seria semi. )

20th century

  • Rolf Liebermann took with his librettist Heinrich Strobel this form of opera Leonore in 40/45 (UA 1952 in the Opera Basel) and Penelope (UA at the Salzburg Festival in 1954) back on.