Lecture by dr Ana Stefanović

Museum of the National Theater in Belgrade
January 28th, 18h (also broadcasted online; GMT +1)


The Story of Esther in Genre Interpretations of Musical Baroque

 

Since its first edition, Rossi Fest has included lectures (dedicated to the topics on intercultural and interdisciplinary context of Salomone Rossi`s work, his time, contemporaries and successors) in its program. This year a lecture will be held by an eminent Serbian musicologist and professor of the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade, dr. Ana Stefanović.

 

Lecture abstract:

The story of Esther, from the Old Testament Book of Esther, throughout the Baroque was an inspiration to composers and poets in some of the most significant musical works of this era. The content and messages of this story ‒ which are celebrated in the Jewish tradition during the Feast of Purim ‒ including their two aspects: serious and carnival, high and low regarding the genre, were suitable and challenging for musical transposition. Traditionally, as a biblical story, situated in the oratorio genre field, the story of Esther has been nevertheless differently understood in the long history of its musical settings in terms of stage, style, and genre. The basis of Esther’s baroque musical interpretations is the well-known play of the same name by Jean Racine from 1689, which was a direct impetus for several important musical and stage achievements. First, for musical intermedi composed for the first performance of Racine’s play by Jean-Baptiste Moreau, then for the sacred story (histoire sacrée) by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Historia Esther from 1677, for Antonio Lotti’s oratorio L'umiltà coronata in Esther (1714), then, for Händel’s first oratorio, Esther (1718/1732), and finally, for the oratorio by Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti, Esther (1774) ‒ found just over two decades ago ‒ which, after a century and a half, represented the first musical work after Rossi’s Ha-shirim asher li-Shlomo (1620‒1623) written in Hebrew, but in the genre framework of the Western tradition. In this lecture, we will pay particular attention to genre and stylistic interpretations of the story of Esther in the works of Moreau, Händel, and Lidarti.

 

Prof. dr Ana Stefanović

Musicologist, Professor at the University of Arts, Faculty of Music (Department of Musicology), in Belgrade, and Associate Researcher at IreMus, Paris. She received her MA degree at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade and her Ph.D. in musicology at the University Paris IV Sorbonne. The main areas of her research are baroque opera, solo song, the relation between music and text, as well as questions of musical style and stylistic analysis. She is engaged in several international and national projects in musicology and is the author of a large number of studies and articles published in reviews for musicology and music theory, and collected papers. She edited several issues of collected papers and organized several international conferences. She published the books: La musique comme métaphore. La relation de la musique et du texte dans l’opéra baroque français: de Lully à Rameau, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2006; Temporality and Narrativity in Music Drama, Beograd, FMU, 2017. She is also the author of the Anthology of Serbian Art Song I–VI, Belgrade, UKS, 2008–2014.