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(p.247) 15 Belief
Music in the Present Tense
Emanuele Senici
University of Chicago Press

This chapter returns to history, asking what happened after 1830, when Rossini’s popularity diminished rather sharply. Contemporary critical discourse is read in light of the continuing popularity of a selected number of Rossini’s titles, especially Italian versions of operas originally conceived for Parisian stages between 1826 and 1829. The differences between the dramaturgies of Rossini’s Italian and French works can be understood in terms of different stances toward reality and the possibility of its operatic representation. Rossini’s French works seem to believe in this possibility, and therefore were better suited to a new, Romantic culture of belief in the comprehension of reality that emerged in Italy toward the end of the 1820s and flourished in the 1830s and 1840s, and that found its initial operatic expression in Vincenzo Bellini’s and Gaetano Donizetti’s works of the late 1820s and early 1830s.

Keywords:   belief, 1830s, Romantic culture, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti

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