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Divas and ScholarsPerforming Italian Opera$
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Philip Gossett

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226304823

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226304885.001.0001

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From the Score to the Stage

From the Score to the Stage

(p.443) 13 From the Score to the Stage
Divas and Scholars
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses certain aspects of stage direction and set design. An important part of the audience for Italian opera in the United States and Italy tends to be exceptionally conservative when it comes to the staging of works they know and love. Neither Verdi nor any other nineteenth-century Italian composer could have imagined the emergence during the twentieth century of interventionist stage directors and so-called radical stagings. Resistance to this approach has been fierce, particularly in the United States and Italy. By the 1820s, opera librettos tended to incorporate a larger number of elaborate stage directions, indicating the increased importance of dramatic action throughout each work. The construction of these librettos was dependent upon ever more complex arrangements of the painted backdrops used for the settings and solid pieces of scenery, some purely decorative and some accommodating actors.

Keywords:   opera, stage direction, set design, radical stagings, librettos

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