Music History is Thrilling!

Christoph Willibald Gluck and the Operatic Reform

Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)

This German born composer who trained in Italy sought to restore opera to being the art of combining music with poetry as the servant and not as the vessel to display only virtuosic ability. Gluck wrote a few operas including “Orpheus and Eurydice” which revealed the fusion of music being the servant of the lyrics.

Operatic Reform

The reform, instigated by Christoph Willibald Gluck, reintroduced opera to the libretto being the servant of the music. Prior to the reform, the principal characters were choosing arias that had nothing to do with the opera in order to display their virtuosity better. With the reform, opera was returned to expressing dramatic truth.

All information on this article is derived from: Joseph Machlis and Kristine Forney. The Enjoyment of Music, Eight Edition, Standard Version, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1999.

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