Reading Comprehension 1

1. READ TEXT QUICKLY AND SIGN DIFFICULT WORDS

Although stage plays has been set to music since the era of the ancient Greeks, when the dramas of Sophocies and Aeschylus were accompanied by lyres and flutes, the usual accepted date for the beginning of opera as we know it is 1600. As a part of the celebration of the marriage of King Henry IV of France to the Italian aristocrat Maria De Medici, the Florentine composer Jacopo Peri produced his famous Euridice, generally considered to be the first opera. Following his example, a group of Italian musicians, poets, and noblemen called the Camerata began to revive the style of musical story that had been used in Greek tragedy. The Camerata took most of the plots for their operas from Greek and Roman history and mythology, beginning the process of creating an opera by writing a libretto or drama that could be used to establish the framework to the music. They called their compositions opera in musical or musical works. It is from this phrase that the word “opera” was borrowed and abbreviated.

For several years, the center of opera was Florence in Northern Italy, but gradually, during the Baroque period, it spread throughout Italy. By the late 1600s, operas were being written and performed in many places throughout Europe, especially in England, France, and Germany. However, for many years, the Italian opera was considered the ideal, and many non-Italian composers continued to use Italian librettos. The European form deemphasized the dramatic aspect of the Italian model. New orchestral effects and even ballet were introduced under the guise of opera. Composers gave in to the demands of singers, writing many operas that were little more than a succession of brilliant tricks for the voice, designed to showcase the splendid voices of the singer who had requested them. It was thus that complicated arias, recitative, and duets evolved. The aria, which is a long solo, may be compared to a song in which the characters express their thoughts and feelings. The recitative, which is also a solo of sorts, is a recitation set to music, the purpose of which is to continue the story line. The duet is a musical piece written for two voices, a musical device than may serve the function of either an aria or a recitative within the opera.

2. NEW VOCABULARY WITH THEIR MEANING

  • Ancient : used to refer to the period in European history from the earliest known societies to the end of the Roman Empire
  • Aristocrat : a person of high social rank who belongs to the aristocracy
  • Composer : a person who writes music
  • Poets : a group who write poems
  • Revive : to come or bring something back to life, health, existence, or use
  • Libretto : the words that are sung or spoken in a musical work for the theatre
  • Establish : to start a company or organization that will continue for a long time
  • Framework : a system of rules, ideas, or beliefs that is used to plan or decide something
  • Abbreviated : to make a word or phrase shorter by using only the first letters of each word
  • Deemphasized : to reduce in relative importance
  • Recitation : to say a piece of writing aloud from memory, or to publiclysay a list of things

3. THE IDEAS OF EACH PARAGRAPH

  • Paragraph one : Stage plays has been set to music since the era of the ancient Greeks, the usual accepted date for the beginning of opera as we know it is 1600. As a part of the celebration of the marriage of King Henry IV of France to the Italian aristocrat Maria De Medici, the Florentine composer Jacopo Peri produced his famous Euridice, generally considered to be the first opera.
  • Paragraph two : By the late 1600s, operas were being written and performed in many places throughout Europe, especially in England, France, and Germany. However, for many years, the Italian opera was considered the ideal, and many non-Italian composers continued to use Italian librettos. The European form deemphasized the dramatic aspect of the Italian model. New orchestral effects and even ballet were introduced under the guise of opera.

4. ANSWER FROM THE QUESTIONS GIVEN

1. This passage is a summary of?

  • A. Opera in Italy
  • B. The Camerata
  • C. The development of opera
  • D. Euridice

2. According to this passage, when did modern opera begin?

  • A. In the time of the ancient Greeks
  • B. In the fifteenth century
  • C. At the beginning of the sixteenth century
  • D. At the beginning of the seventeenth century

3. The word it in paragraph 1 refers to?

  • A. Opera
  • B. Date
  • C. Era
  • D. Music

4. According to the author, what did Jacopo Peri write?

  • A. Greek tragedy
  • B. The first opera
  • C. The opera Maria de Medici
  • D. The opera The Camerata

5. The author suggests that Euridice was produced?

  • A. In France
  • B. Originally by Sopocles and Aeschylus
  • C. Without much success
  • D. For the wedding of King Henry IV

6. What was The Camerata?

  • A. A group of Greek musicians
  • B. Musicians who developed a new musical drama based upon Greek drama
  • C. A style of music not known in Italy
  • D. The name given to the court of King Henry IV

7. The word revive in paragraph 1 could best be replaced by?

  • A. Appreciate
  • B. Resume
  • C. Modify
  • D. Investigate

8. The word plot in paragraph 1 is closet in meaning to?

  • A. Locations
  • B. Instruments
  • C. Stories
  • D. Inspiration

9. From what did the term “opera” derive?

  • A. Greek and Roman history and mythology
  • B. Non-Italian composers
  • C. The Italian phrase that means “musical works”
  • D. The ideas of composer Jacopo Peri.

5. SUMMARY OF THE PASSAGE

Stage plays has been set to music since the era of the ancient Greeks, the usual accepted date for the beginning of opera as we know it is 1600. By the late 1600s, operas were being written and performed in many places throughout Europe, especially in England, France, and Germany. However, for many years, the Italian opera was considered the ideal, and many non-Italian composers continued to use Italian librettos. The European form deemphasized the dramatic aspect of the Italian model. New orchestral effects and even ballet were introduced under the guise of opera.

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