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(p.83) 5 Genre
Music in the Present Tense
Emanuele Senici
University of Chicago Press

This chapter starts with the observation that the matter of style raises larger aesthetic and ultimately dramaturgical issues, first among them that of genre, which is addressed through a close look at a few moments of La gazza ladra. Critics berated Rossini for making some of this opera’s supposedly comic moments too serious while doing the opposite to some of its supposedly serious ones, and thus narrowing its range to a middle-of-the-road band. Rossini’s unprecedented stylistic consistency, his supposed addiction to self-borrowing, and the perceived emotional and psychological uniformity of his music, then, were considered not only characteristics of his works irrespective of genre but also thought to contribute to the flattening of genre differentiations. The result was a further removal of operatic representation from reality than was already generally the case.

Keywords:   genre, representation, La gazza ladra

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