Dramma giocoso

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Dramma giocoso (Italian, literally: jocular drama; plural: drammi giocosi) is the name of a genre of opera common in the mid-18th century. The term is a contraction of "dramma giocoso per musica" and is essentially a description of the text rather than the opera as a whole. The genre developed in the Neapolitan opera tradition, mainly through the work of the playwright Carlo Goldoni in Venice. Characteristic of drammi giocosi is the technique of a grand buffo scene as a dramatic climax at the end of an act. Carlo Goldoni's texts always consisted of two long acts with extended finales, followed by a short third act.

Goldoni's texts were set by Baldassarre Galuppi, Niccolò Piccinni and Joseph Haydn, but the only works of this genre that are still frequently staged are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's and Lorenzo da Ponte's operas Don Giovanni from 1787 and Così fan tutte 1790. However, Mozart entered these works in his catalogue as "opera buffa".


  • John Stone, "Mozart's Opinions and Outlook: Opera" in "The Mozart Compendium" ed. HC Robbins Landon, Thames and Hudson, London 1990.
  • Eberhard Thiel, Sachwörterbuch der Musik. Stuttgart: Kröner, 1984.

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