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Landscape and Gender in Italian Opera
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  • 15 b/w illus. 26 music examples
  • Page extent: 368 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.71 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 782.1/0945/09034
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: ML1733.4 .S46 2005
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Opera--Italy--19th century
    • Opera--Italy--20th century
    • Heroines in opera
    • Virginity in opera
    • Mountains in opera

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521834377 | ISBN-10: 0521834376)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published September 2005

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$139.00 (C)

In this unusual study, Emanuele Senici explores the connection between landscape and gender in Italian opera through the emblematic figure of the Alpine virgin. In the nineteenth century, operas portraying an emphatically virginal heroine, a woman defined by her virginity, were often set in the mountains, most frequently the Alps. The clarity of the sky, the whiteness of the snow and the purity of the air were associated with the 'innocence' of the female protagonist. Senici discusses a number of works particularly relevant to the origins, transformations and meanings of this conventional association including Bellini's La sonnambula (1831), Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix (1842), Verdi's Luisa Miller (1849), and Puccini's La fanciulla del West (1910). This convention presents an unusual point of view - a theme rather than a composer, a librettist, a singer or a genre - from which to observe Italian opera 'at work' over a century.


List of illustrations; List of musical examples; Acknowledgments; 1. Virgins, mountains, opera; 2. 'At the foot of the Alps': The landscape of La sonnambula; 3. Linda di Chamounix and the ideology of chastity; 4. The politics of genre in Luisa Miller; 5. Deflowering the Alps: from I promessi sposi to La Wally and Fedora; 6. La fanciulla del West: a new landscape for a new virgin; Notes; Index.


"Whether one ultimately agrees with the interpretations offered in this book seems less important than following the author through his rich web of literary, philosophical, psychological, political, and feminist contextualization. A review cannot recreate the experience, but it can encourage readers to venture into the web and undertake their own journey. Although this may on occasion be strenuous, it will also be thought-provoking, sophisticated, and engaging." --Andreas Giger, Journal of the American Musicological Society

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