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Verdi and the French Aesthetic
Verse, Stanza, and Melody in Nineteenth-Century Opera


  • Date Published: July 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521349543

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About the Authors
  • Focusing on Verdi's French operas, Giger shows how the composer acquired an ever better understanding of the various approaches to French versification while gradually bringing his works in line with French melodic aesthetic. In his first French opera, Jérusalem, Verdi treated the text in an overly cautious manner, trying to avoid prosodic mistakes; in Les Vêpres siciliennes he began to apply more freedom, scanning the verses against some prosodic accents to convey the lightheartedness of a melody; and in Don Carlos he finally drew on the entire palette of prosodic interpretations. Most of Verdi's melodic accomplishments in the French operas carried over into the subsequent Italian ones, setting the stage for what later would be called operatic verismo. Drawing attention to the significance of the libretto for the development of nineteenth-century French and Italian opera, this text illustrates Verdi's gradual mastery of the challenges he faced, and their historical significance.

    • Comprehensive study of French and Italian versification of importance to any student or scholar of nineteenth-century French and Italian opera, and also to the opera fan
    • Includes quotations from previously unpublished primary sources, locating the theoretical concepts in nineteenth-century thought
    • Illustrative music examples enhance the reader's understanding
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521349543
    • length: 306 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Versification and Melodic Aesthetics:
    1. Rhythm and stanza in French and Italian librettos
    2. French and Italian melodic aesthetics and practice c. 1830–70
    Episode: design, middleground rhythm, and phrase
    Part II. French Melody in Verdi's Operas:
    3. Jérusalem and its influence on the subsequent Italian operas
    4. Les Vêpres siciliennes and its influence on the subsequent Italian operas
    5. Don Carlos and after
    Appendix: Significant theoretic and aesthetic texts.

  • Author

    Andreas Giger, Louisiana State University

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