Opera in Theory and Practice, Image and Myth

Edited by Lorenzo Bianconi and Giorgio Pestelli

Opera in Theory and Practice, Image and Myth
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Edited by Lorenzo Bianconi and Giorgio Pestelli

504 pages | 48 halftones, 4 musical examples, 12 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2003
Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 9780226045924 Published November 2003
The History of Italian Opera marks the first time a team of scholars has worked together to investigate the entire Italian operatic tradition, rather than limiting its focus to major composers and their masterworks. Including both musicologists and historians of other arts, the contributors approach opera not only as a distinctive musical genre but also as a form of extravagant theater and a complex social phenomenon.

This sixth volume in the series centers on the sociological and critical aspects of opera in Italy, considering the art in the context of an Italian literary and cultural canon rarely revealed in English and American studies. In its six chapters, contributors survey critics' changing attitudes toward opera over several centuries, trace the evolution of formal conventions among librettists, explore the historical relationships between opera and Italian literature, and examine opera's place in Italian popular and national culture. In perhaps the volume's most striking contribution, German scholar Carl Dahlouse offers his most important statement on the dramaturgy of opera.
Contents
List of Illustrations
Note on Italian Prosody
1 - Poetics and Polemics
RENATO DI BENEDETTO
1. "To imitate speech in song"
2. "One of the most honored pleasures in drama"
3. "The mind not being able to conceive a Hero that sings"
4. "A composition that must be disordered if it is to please"
5. "Renvoyer cette forme de chant à la musique de concert?"
6. "They are not arias, they are magic spells"
7. "A unified, complete, and musical whole"
8. "Precious stones held together with mud"
9. "The lightest of transparent veils, obscuring nothing of the drama"
10. "The single universal form of musical expression and content"
Bibliographic Note
2 - The Dramaturgy of Italian Opera
CARL DALHAUS
CATEGORIES AND CONCEPTS
1. What Is Musical Dramaturgy?
2. The Drama of the Modern Era and Opera
3. The Means of Musical Drama
4. Methodological Considerations
5. Music Theater, Opera, Musical Drama
THE LIBRETTO AND ITS FUNCTIONS
6. The Librettist's Métier
7. Fabula and Intrigue
8. Parola Scenica and Sounding Silence
9. Text and "Work"
THE THEATRICAL DYNAMIC
10. The Score as Production Book
11. The Primacy of the Present
12. Stage Music as Quotation and Reality
13. Time Structures
FORMS AND CONTENTS
14. Number Opera as a Dramatic Form
15. The Configuration of Characters and the Action
16. Interior and Exterior Dialogue
17. Interior Action
18. "Pathos" and "Ethos"
19. Dialogue and Duet
20. Simultaneity
QUESTIONS OF GENRE
21. The Opera as Novel
22. Tragedy and the Lieto Fine
23. Comedy with Music and Comic Opera
Bibliographic Note
3 - Metrical and Formal Organization
PAOLO FABBRI
1. Meter and Rhythm
2. Open Form: The Prosody of Blank Verse
3. Closed Form: The Aria
4. Recitative and Cavata
5. From Interpolations to the Da Capo
6. Opera in its classical phase: Metastasio
7. The Anti-Metastasio Opposition and Comic Opera
8. The Energy of Comedy in Opera Seria
9. Lines with Even Numbers of Syllables in Romantic Opera
10. Asymmetry as the Norm
Bibliographic Note
4 - Opera and Italian Literature
MARZIO PIERI
THE REASONS
1. Opera as a Popular National Genre
2. Orpheus in the Underworld, or the Rebirth of Tragedy in the Spirit of the Variety Show
3. "Più dolci affetti": Tragedy in Pastoral Mode
4. Forbidden Pleasures
THE EFFECTS
5. Adone, or Opera before Opera
6. From the One-sided Poem to the Segmented Universe, or Opera in Purgatory
7. Don Giovanni
8. Rosina
9. Il duca d'Atene
10. Re orso
11. Ulisse
5 - The Dissemination and Popularization of Opera
ROBERTO LEYDI
THE MYTH OF POPULARITY
1. Preliminary Observations
2. The Phantom of the Opera
3. Bellini's Spinners and Verdi's Crockery Seller (or Baked-Pear Seller)
4. Donizetti (or Bellini) at All Costs
OPERA AND FOLK CULTURE
5. Cimarosa on Your Shoulders as You Wander the World
6. Opera Becomes a Big Stew
7. How Verdi Saved the Anarchist from the Galley
8. Long Live the Band
9. The Village Music Lover and Violetta in Church
10. Radames, a.k.a. Baratieri
11. The Wooden-Headed Prima Donna
OPERA OUTSIDE THE OPERA HOUSE
12. Reading Opera, at Home and in Public
13. Opera in Boxes, Small and Large
14. Signor Galbiati Takes Opera Home with Him
15. The Hammy Baritone, Maestro Muddle, Dinetta, and Margherita, Who Is Not Quite Herself
6 - Opera in Italian National Culture
GIOVANNI MORELLI
1. The Question of Popularity
2. The Unobtainable Cultural Character of the New Nation
3. Hybrids of Old and New
4. How and Why Italian Literature Did Not Become Popular in Italy
5. A Mission for Opera
6. A Cultural Impasse Becomes an Artistic Stance
7. Sublimations of the Subculture
8. Semblances of Unity
9. Opera Goes out of Character
Index of Names
Index of Operas and Ballets
Index of Theatrical Venues
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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