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The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi$
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Abramo Basevi and Stefano Castelvecchi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226094915

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226095073.001.0001

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Giovanna De Guzman (Les Vêpres Siciliennes)

Giovanna De Guzman (Les Vêpres Siciliennes)

(p.204) (p.205) 18 Giovanna De Guzman (Les Vêpres Siciliennes)
The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi

Abramo Basevi

University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes Verdi's Les vêpres siciliennes, first performed in the theater of the Académie Impériale de Musique in Paris on June 13, 1855. The libretto by Messieurs Scribe and Duveyrier was based on the “Sicilian Vespers”, which refers to the uprising of 1282 in which the Sicilians killed thousands of their French occupiers. Setting a French libretto in the Italian style meant filling out the music and overburdening it with redundancies. Verdi found himself precisely in that position—he became verbose and grandiloquent in Les vêpres siciliennes for those very reasons. The result is that this is the least dramatic of Verdi's operas.

Keywords:   Verdi, opera, Italian composers, libretto, Sicilian Vespers, Scribe, Duveyrier

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