Opera, Theatrical Culture and Society in Late Eighteenth-Century Naples

Opera, Theatrical Culture and Society in Late Eighteenth-Century Naples

by Anthony R. DelDonna


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The operatic culture of late eighteenth-century Naples represents the fullest expression of a matrix of creators, practitioners, theorists, patrons, and entrepreneurs linking aristocratic, public and religious spheres of contemporary society. The considerable resonance of 'Neapolitan' opera in Europe was verified early in the eighteenth century not only through voluminous reports offered by locals and visitors in gazettes, newspapers, correspondence or diaries, but also, and more importantly, through the rich and tangible artistic patrimony produced for local audiences and then exported to the Italian peninsula and abroad. Naples was not simply a city of entertainment, but rather a cultural epicenter and paradigm producing highly innovative and successful genres of stage drama reflecting every facet of contemporary society. Anthony R. DelDonna provides a rich study of operatic culture from 1775-1800. The book demonstrates how contemporary stage traditions, stimulated by the Enlightenment, engaged with and responded to the changing social, political, and artistic contexts of the late eighteenth century in Naples. It focuses on select yet representative compositions from different genres of opera that illuminate the diverse contemporary cultural forces shaping these works and underlining the continued innovation and European recognition of operatic culture in Naples. It also defines how the cultural milieu of Naples - aristocratic and sacred, private and public - exercises a profound yet idiosyncratic influence on the repertory studied, the creation of which could not have occurred elsewhere on the Continent.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781138268555
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 11/19/2016
Series: Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera
Pages: 340
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.20(h) x (d)

About the Author

Anthony R. DelDonna, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of the Music Program at Georgetown University. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century topics, in particular Neapolitan music, musicians and culture. Professor DelDonna’s research has focused primarily on opera, archival studies, performance practice and ballet, and has been published in the peer-reviewed journals, Early Music, Eighteenth-Century Music, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Recercare, Studi musicali and Civiltá musicale and in various scholarly collections on eighteenth-century music. He is the co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Opera (with Pierpaolo Polzonetti; 2009) and editor for Genre in Eighteenth-Century Music (2008). Professor DelDonna is the co-editor (with Anna Celenza) of the forthcoming book, In Pursuit of a Cultural Mission: The Jesuits and Music and a collection of clarinet and piano transcriptions by Ferdinando Sebastiani (with Antonio Caroccia for Castejon Music Editions) as well as a forthcoming critical edition of the oratorio Trionfo per l’Assunzione della Santissima Vergine for the series Fondazione Arcadia.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Opera, antiquity, and the Neapolitan Enlightenment in Paisiello's Socrate immaginario (1775); Naples, carnevale and the commedia per musica: Il convitato di pietra (1783); Giovanni Paisiello's Elfrida: operatic idol, martyr and symbol of nation; Nationalism, cultural identity and the modern Neapolitan kingdom: Pietro Allesandro Guglielmi and Enea, e Lavinia; Debora e Sisara and the rise of Lenten tragedy; At the precipice of revolution: Piccinni's Gionata (1792) as drama and diplomacy; The Neapolitan ballet d'action: Il ratto delle Sabine (1780); The Neapolitan ballet d'action and the art of experimentation; Bibliography; Index.

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