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Verdi at 200: Recent Scholarship on the Composer and His Works

From: Notes
Volume 70, Number 1, September 2013
pp. 9-36 | 10.1353/not.2013.0113



The 100th anniversary of Verdi’s death, observed in 2001, inspired nearly a dozen academic conferences. At the dawn of his 2013 bicentennial, a celebratory year shared with Richard Wagner, hundreds of recent studies assess Verdi’s life, his works, and his impact. The present article surveys a selection of books and articles published between these two commemorations. A popular topic is Verdi’s role as a national icon, the calculated product of Italy’s search for a postunification identity. His engagement with foreign cultures has also received attention, for his German literary sources, his forays into French grand opera, and his use of exotic settings. Recent studies of Verdi’s operas often focus on the testing of boundaries, whether between genres, genders, or psychological states. While musical analyses still engage with operatic convention, they also examine other features, such as melody, meter, and tempo. Visual aspects of performance (set design, lighting, staging), considered separately in some studies and as a unified concept in others, constitute a newer area of scholarly interest.

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