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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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Transmission Versus Tradition

Transmission Versus Tradition

(p.69) 3 Transmission Versus Tradition
Divas and Scholars
University of Chicago Press

A completed opera would be rehearsed for about a month. In dire circumstances, rehearsals would begin before the last act had been drafted. Composers often tailored their scores to the abilities of their singers and made many modifications for artistic reasons, independent of the predilections of individual singers. Revision and polishing continued throughout the rehearsal period, often creating confusion in the subsequent transmission of an opera. The texts transmitted through written sources do not embody the performance traditions. Only rarely does a particular reworking of an opera, by later performers, become part of a continuous written record, although some transmitted reworking has had a pernicious influence on the history of a work. The occasional publication of an aria with the ornamentation of a favorite singer almost never influenced the text of the work from which the aria was taken.

Keywords:   rehearsals, composers, texts, transmission, performance tradition, opera, aria, ornamentation

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