excerpt from 'Letters from Italy describing the customs and manners of that country, in the years 1765 and 1766' pp. 77 - 79 (369 words)

excerpt from 'Letters from Italy describing the customs and manners of that country, in the years 1765 and 1766' pp. 77 - 79 (369 words)

part of

Letters from Italy describing the customs and manners of that country, in the years 1765 and 1766

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

77 - 79

type

text excerpt

encoded value

A stranger, upon his arrival in so large and celebrated a city as Naples, generally makes the publick spectacles his first pursuit. These consist of the King's Theatre, where the serious Opera is performed, and of two smaller theatres, called Theatro Nuovo, and the Theatro dei Fiorentini, where they exhibit burlettas only. […]

 The amazing extent of the stage [of the King's Opera House], with the prodigious circumference of the boxes, and height of the ceiling, produce a marvellous effect on the mind, for a few moments; but the instant the Opera opens, a spectator laments this striking sight. He immediately perceives this structure does not gratify the ear, how much soever it may the eye. The voices are drowned in this immensity of space, and even the orchestra itself, though a numerous band, lies under a disadvantage: It is true, some of the first singers may be heard, yet, upon the whole, it must be admitted, that the house is better contrived to see, than to hear an Opera.

 There are some who contend, that the singers might be very well heard, if the audience were more silent; but it is so much the fashion at Naples, and, indeed, through all Italy, to consider the Opera as a place of rendezvous and visiting, that they do not seem in the least to attend to the musick, but laugh and talk through the whole performance, without any restraint; and, it may be imagined, that an assembly of so many hundreds conversing together so loudly, must entirely cover the voices of the singers. I was pre-possessed of this custom before I left England, but had no idea it was carried to such an extreme. I had been informed, that though the Italians indulged this humour in some degree, yet, when a favourite song was singing, or the King was present, they observed a deep silence: I must, however, deny the fact in both cases, from what I have seen, though, possibly, they may have paid more regard to some songs, than to those I heard; and, probably, the audience may have shewn to Don Carlos, King of Naples, more respect than they do to his son, a youth of fifteen.

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excerpt from 'Letters from Italy describing the customs and manners of that country, in the years 1765 and 1766' pp. 77 - 79 (369 words)

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