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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2019

Serafin's Scissors

Serafin's Scissors

Chapter:
(p.241) 8 Serafin's Scissors
Source:
Divas and Scholars
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226304885.003.0008

This chapter discusses the omitting of passages from an opera in performance and presents the history of the practice and its advantages and disadvantages. Making cuts in nineteenth-century Italian operas has a long pedigree. Most cuts introduced by thoughtful performers in the nineteenth century and in the modern world are not arbitrary manipulations of unstable texts, but rather attempts to eliminate elements considered to be least significant or characteristic for a work's aesthetic integrity and historical position. Aesthetic issues of musical quality rarely play a role in decisions about cutting recitative, but for a stage director, the effect of recitative on the coherence of the dramatic action can be crucial. It is important to measure the cuts both against the social circumstances in which operas were originally prepared and the conditions in which they are performed today.

Keywords:   opera, omitting passages, cuts, recitative, performance, stage director

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