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Dramma Giocoso

Four Contemporary Perspectives on the Mozart/Da Ponte Operas

Sergio Durante, Stefan Rohringer, Julian Rushton, James Webster. Edited by Darla Crispin

Publication Year: 2012

The three Mozart/Da Ponte operas offer an inexhaustible wellspring for critical reflection, possessing a complexity and equivocation common to all great humane works. They have the potential to reflect and refract whatever locus of contemporaneity may be the starting point for enquiry. Thus, even postmodern and postmillennial concerns, far from seeming irrelevant to these operas, are instead given new perspectives by them, whilst the music and the dramatic situations have the multivalency to accept each refreshed pallet of interpretation without loss of their essential character. These operas seem perennially ‘new'. In exploring the evergreen qualities of Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, this collection of studies does not shun approaches that have foundations in established theory, but refracts them through such problems as the tension between operatic tradition and psychological realism, the co-existence of multiple yet equal plots, and the antagonism between the tenets of tradition and the need for self-actualization. In exploring such themes, the authors not only illuminate new aspects of Mozart's operatic compositions, but also probe the nature of musical analysis itself.

Published by: Leuven University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4


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pp. 5-6

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pp. 7-10

At the end of Mozart and Da Ponte’s Dramma giocoso, the titular anti-hero, Don Giovanni, confronts his fate and exits the stage in a dramatic plunging into hellfire. In the ‘Prelude’ to Joseph and his Brothers, aptly subtitled ‘Descent into Hell’, Thomas Mann sets the scene for his re-telling of the familiar Biblical story, ...

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‘By their arias shall ye know them’: Characterization in Aria-based Opera

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pp. 11-32

When a student, and thus easily influenced, I read the first edition of Joseph Kerman’s Opera as Drama.1 45 years on, I still broadly agree with his dictum that in opera ‘the imaginative articulation for the drama is provided by music’.2 But the music of an opera does not come into being in creative isolation, ...

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Don Ottavio and the History of the Tenor Voice

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pp. 33-58

Most scholars regard Don Ottavio as a problematic figure. Even those who are relatively well disposed toward him and see his lack of temperament as balanced by sincerity and rationality nevertheless concede that this trade-off has its limitations. Joachim Kaiser offers an insightful view: ...

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Don Giovanni Then and Now: Text and Performance

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pp. 59-90

When approaching a work like Da Ponte and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, a person with any degree of historical consciousness feels a special responsibility. After all, this work has been defined as the ‘opera of all operas’ (E.T.A. Hoffmann) and, while such an evaluation represents an exaggeration, ...

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The Act IV Finale of Le Nozze di Figaro: Dramatic And Musical Construction

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pp. 91-129

The entire institution of musical analysis is oriented conceptually towards instrumental music. (Recent studies of popular music may perhaps be an exception.) Moreover, the vast majority of analyses of instrumental music have been devoted to individual movements (or much shorter passages), ...


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pp. 130-134


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pp. 135-144

E-ISBN-13: 9789461660589
Print-ISBN-13: 9789058678454

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2012