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(p.161) 10 Repertory
Music in the Present Tense
Emanuele Senici
University of Chicago Press

This chapter turns to some wider implications of the interpretation of Rossini’s dramaturgy addressed in the previous one, with specific reference to the concept and practice of repetition. Not only did the modern operatic repertory appear first in connection with repeated revivals of Rossini’s operas in the same theater; those works also dominated over those of other composers in early nineteenth-century Italian theaters. Looking at theaters, however, gives only a partial view of the situation, since Rossini’s music was also sung and played in countless arrangements for all sorts of performing forces in spaces both public and private. The chapter explores the widespread dissemination of this music in all spheres of society, presenting some surprising discoveries in the repertory of dialect popular songs that bring home with full force the level of popularity (and therefore of repetition) reached by at least some of Rossini’s music in Italy in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   repertory, operatic arrangements, popular music, popularity in opera

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