First published in 1991. At once poet, dramatist, adaptor and translator, the operatic librettist in turn expresses and mocks social convention. Deirdre O'Grady's study of the Italian operatic librettist identifies opera as a mirror of literary climates, popular taste and political aspirations. The Last Troubadours traces the history of the Italian libretto from its courtly origin in the 16th century, through the crisis of the aristocracy and the 19th-century struggle for national unity, to the birth of social realism. Fundamental elements of Italian opera - heroic valour, cunning servants, revolutionary ardour and romantic tenderness - are considered in their historical and cultural context. Also discussed are famous lyrical and musical collaborations - of Da Ponte and Mozart, Solera and Verdi, Romani and Bellini, and Boito and Verdi.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations; Introduction; Acknowledgements; Part One: Baroque, Arcadian and Enlightenment Influences; 1. Aristocratic Beginnings in Florence, Mantua and Rome 2. Popular Success and Maturity in Venice: Busenello, Badoaro and Cicognini 3. Innovation and Reform: Zeno, Metastasio and Calzabigi 4. Of Servants and Masters: Federico, Goldoni and Da Ponte; Part Two: The Expression of Individualism; 5. A Cry for Freedom: High Priests and Patriots 6. Of Reason and Delirium 7. Jester, Troubadour and Courtesan 8. The Devil’s Advocate: Evil in the Works of Arrigo Boito; Notes; Select Bibliography; Index