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Operatic GeographiesThe Place of Opera and the Opera House$
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Suzanne Aspden

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226595962

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226596150.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Opera and the Carnival Entertainment Package in Eighteenth-Century Turin

Opera and the Carnival Entertainment Package in Eighteenth-Century Turin

(p.57) Five Opera and the Carnival Entertainment Package in Eighteenth-Century Turin
Operatic Geographies

Margaret R. Butler

University of Chicago Press

Although opera has long been viewed as eighteenth-century Italy’s main carnival season activity, in urban centers the genre was one of many entertainment forms available to the public. Audiences’ engagement by means of diversions outside the opera house, and the relationship of that engagement to broader cultural goals, merits exploration. This essay shows that carnival entertainment in Turin, the capital of the Savoyard state, was highly regulated, the Teatro Regio’s administrative directors planning numerous entertainments occurring before, during, and after the operas. This complex of events, because of their carefully prescribed physical spaces, schedule, and finances, as well as their content, formed a tightly constructed network of meanings for both the public and the sovereign. Turin’s prescriptions for sociability were integral to the sovereign’s quest for his city to gain status as a leading European capital, one that was sophisticated, beautiful, and striking, and that left an indelible impression on visitors and residents alike. Turin’s audiences experienced opera as part of a whole—a unified body of entertainment with a character inextricably linked to the space it occupied.

Keywords:   opera, audiences, Teatro Regio, public, entertainment, sociability, sovereign, carnival, Turin

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