Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Four Last SongsAging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226255590

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226255620.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 06 April 2020

Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901)

Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901)

A Generational Tale of Cultural Nationalism

(p.23) Chapter Three Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901)
Four Last Songs

Linda Hutcheon

Michael Hutcheon

University of Chicago Press

The last opera of Giuseppe Verdi, the master of Italian tragic opera, was his only successful comedy, Falstaff (1893). This chapter argues that this work was written to offer a model of renovated musical italianità to the younger Italian composers of his time, seduced as they were by the Germanic “symphonism” of Richard Wagner. Verdi’s turn to a late style of irony and parody in Falstaff was his way of simultaneously incorporating (but distancing) the past and moving forward in new directions. Analysis of Wagner’s last opera, Parsifal (1882), alongside Falstaff reveals the very different resolutions offered by these two tales of age and generational crisis. Wagner’s obsession with social degeneration and his worries about his own creativity were countered by Verdi’s healthy ironic laughter at his own as well as Wagner’s expense. This was his pedagogical lesson to young composers about how to be progressive, modern, and still Italian.

Keywords:   Verdi, Wagner, Boito, Symphonism, Irony, Parody, Falstaff, Parsifal, Degeneration, Italianità

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.