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Seventeenth-Century Opera and the Sound of the Commedia Dell'Arte$
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Emily Wilbourne

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226401577

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226401607.001.0001

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Seventeenth-Century Opera and the Sound of the Commedia dell’Arte

Seventeenth-Century Opera and the Sound of the Commedia dell’Arte

Chapter:
(p.165) Conclusion Seventeenth-Century Opera and the Sound of the Commedia dell’Arte
Source:
Seventeenth-Century Opera and the Sound of the Commedia Dell'Arte
Author(s):

Emily Wilbourne

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226401607.003.0006

The conclusion completes the historical through line of the previous chapters by showing how each of the musical techniques already identified as echoes of commedia dell’arte practice are evident in the music of Francesco Cavalli. While the comic characters of Cavalli’s oeuvre have been frequently linked to commedia dell’arte prototypes, and while his libretti trade in stereotypical scenarios popularized by the dell’arte theatre, the argument in this chapter concerns the codified musical languages of the Cavalli’s various character types and the extent to which the music of the mid-century Venetian theatre transposed the dialect traditions of the commedia dell’arte into musical-stylistic terms. Cavalli’s use of sound as a means of characterisation is directly reliant on the assumptions of the commedia dell’arte theatre, rendering the earlier spoken drama a decisive factor in the success of operatic development and on the epistemological foundation on which the very concept of drama in music rests.

Keywords:   commedia dell’arte, opera, sound, Francesco Cavalli, Venetian opera

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