Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera: From Rossini to Puccini

Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera: From Rossini to Puccini

Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera: From Rossini to Puccini

Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera: From Rossini to Puccini

Synopsis

"Intended for the performer and general music lover as well as for students and musicologists, this three-part retrospective of Italian opera of the romantic era focuses on the settings, characters, and styles of the librettos; the voices, orchestration, and formal structure of the music; and the contemporary exigencies of the performance itself, moving from behind-the-scenes administration and artistry to the front-and-center interpreters and the audiences they played to. More than 120 musical examples support the text, the majority of them in an alphabetical appendix of "Famous Melodies," which includes the themes of popular arias along with captions detailing the operas, the composers, the acts in which the melodies occur, and the characters who sing them. The book also includes appendices of main characters, celebrated singers and conductors, and principal librettists; a glossary; and a note on Italian pronunciation. Numerous illustrations and tables, an exhaustive topical bibliography, and a select, current CD discography round out this informative introduction to opera's golden age." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The most important criterion for a good libretto is that it be dramatic, the absence of which quality would seem to explain the failure of Schubert's operas. Italian opera plots were often quite complex, as in La forza del destino and Don Carlo. Disguised identities abound -- Belfiore in Un giorno di regno, the Duke in Rigoktto, Leonora in La forza del destino -- and infant-stealing and switches at birth -- La fille du régiment, Il trovatore -- far from simplify matters. Only rarely do works of this period induce boredom.

Can it be claimed beyond a doubt that the supremacy of song made up for the otherwise indisputable flaws of a plot? The question will be addressed, but not without first emphasizing that solo narratives, such as Ferrando's in Il trovatore (Act I, scene 1), which had been so common to opera from the seventeenth century onward -- the messenger's narrative in Monteverdi's Orfeo, for instance -- appeared less and less in Italian opera of the nineteenth century.

In Italy, interest was sustained less by the arrangement of the plot than by the manner in which the themes were treated: love, death, religion, politics, to which were added many societal -- and even supernatural -- elements.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.