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Thoughts on opera:

Se: Rossini

The beauty of music as an end in itself. Hedonistic & exuberant. Gets more & more exciting until it EXPLODES (e.g., Gazza ladra overture).

Italian opera is individualistic and egotistical, focuses on a small group of characters, their emotional drama, and has melodramatic situations (similar to Greek tragedy or Jacobean drama). Emotions are strongly expressed, but there's little interest in introspection or interiority; the characters are vivid, but are often types. Donizetti and (early) Verdi's characters are swept up in the action (as one critic put it, they rush onstage, wave swords around, and rush off again). Bellini is the exception - his music is inward looking.

Fe: music of a unified humanity, social / philosophical concerns, setting & locale.
E.g.: French opera, Russian opera.
French grand opéra is broader in scale than Italian opera - it addresses social questions (religion, power politics, social injustice, colonialism, ideas about history). A whole society of different classes and groups is depicted; the historical period is recreated (which is not a concern of Italian opera until middle period Verdi). The protagonists have to choose between public and personal demands, and both affect and are affected by history and social forces. Huge importance of the chorus, representing the people. Later French opera is both sentimental & wittily ironic (e.g., Gounod, Offenbach).
[Possible that the visions of unified humanity in Mozart - Magic Flute, Clemenza di Tito - or Beethoven's Fidelio are Fe?]

Ne: Offenbach
Pythonesque humour meets opera parody. The hero is pursued by Public Opinion, love duets with Zeus (disguised as a fly), countries struck with sex mania - and robots.

Ni: mystical & introspective
E.g.: Wagner
Wagner depicts interior psychological states. The orchestra represents subconscious feelings or unspoken thoughts; the Leitmotifs are a web of associations and emotions. The material world is unimportant; what matters is revolution or Schopenhauerian philosophy, the inner emotional world, or the fate of the soul (early operas, Parsifal). Characters are archetypal figures and ideograms, rather than human beings (except Meistersinger).

Fi: subjective emotions
E.g. Massenet; Puccini; Strauss.
The three most Fi operas are Massenet's Werther, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande - focus on how the individual protagonist FEELS. (Things don't end up well.)


Suggested types for composers:
Mozart: ENFP

Rossini: ESFP
"Eating, loving, singing and digesting are, in truth, the four acts of the comic opera known as life, and they pass like bubbles of a bottle of champagne. Whoever lets them break without having enjoyed them is a complete fool."
Music (like food) is a source of sensory delight. Playful and witty, ironic. Reformed Italian opera (the code Rossini). Later operas are boldly experimental, harnessing bel canto for psychological ends (e.g., Ermione, Bianca e Falliero, Semiramide).

Bellini: INFP

Donizetti: EF

Verdi: INFP
Supreme master of theatrical effect and dramatic irony. Highly private man; empathetic & compassionate, but also taciturn & dour; believed in causes (Risorgimento), but placed humanity before idealism. Operas move rapidly, mounting in tension. Characters reveal themselves through ACTION - the way they deal with other people and the choices they make, rather than reflection and introspection (as in Wagner).


Meyerbeer: ENFJ
Heine recognised that Meyerbeer's music is "more social than individual" (in contrast to Rossini). Concerned with the problems of civilisation: bigotry, fanaticism, intolerance, the desirefor power. Argues that ideology is dangerous, and that what matters is the individual. People are the products of their situation (nationality, creed,class), but can rise above their situation to recognise the humanity of others. Unlike Verdi or Wagner, who want the audience to identify with the characters and be emotionally overwhelmed, Meyerbeer's characters cannot lose themselves in their emotions, but must make choices in socio-political terms; the tocsin of the Barthélemy breaks in on the Huguenots Act IV love duet.

Wagner: Variously suggested as INTJ, ENTJ, ENFJ, ENFP, ESTP, ESTJ.
Probably an extrovert, with extremely well developed Ni, or else an energetic & charismatic Ni-dom. Revolutionary, profligate, luxurious tastes, personally generous, conducted feuds against other composers, man of strong feelings, intellectual.

Berlioz: INF? Enneagram 4.

Offenbach: ENTP

Gounod: ENF?
"Art is life & is love; to be in love, it is everything". Trained for the priesthood. Emotionally expressive, enthusiastic, sincere. (Charles GOUNOD : Around Charles Gounod)

Massenet: ??FJ
Fe user - diplomatic, disciplined & orderly.

Tchaikovsky: INFJ
Puccini: ESTP
Strauss: I?T?
 
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