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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

The City Onstage: Re-Presenting Venice in Italian Opera

The City Onstage: Re-Presenting Venice in Italian Opera

(p.88) Seven The City Onstage: Re-Presenting Venice in Italian Opera
Operatic Geographies

Susan Rutherford

University of Chicago Press

Nineteenth-century Italian opera, in its scenic use of localised settings, has been described as providing a kind of tour-guide for its audiences of the various regions, cities and monuments of the peninsula. The source of such practices can be traced to Venice, which provided the first visual incarnation of a city-on-stage in Francesco Sacrati and Vincenzo Nolfi’s Il bellerofonte (1642), a spectacle that contributed to public opera’s growing role in the Venetian tourist industry. Venice’s distinctive architecture continued to provoke operatic representation across the centuries, but the emergence of the ‘dark legend’ of a corrupt, amoral city following the fall of the Republic in 1797 produced a schism between how Venice perceived itself and how it was perceived by others. This chapter explores various relationships between the city of Venice and Ottocento opera, including both opera ‘about’ Venice as well as opera ‘of’ Venice. Particular reference is made to Giuseppe Verdi’s Attila (Teatro La Fenice, 1846), an opera that offered a newly invigorated vision of Venice in a scene designed by Giuseppe Bertoja and noted for its musical and technological innovation.

Keywords:   Venice, opera, nineteenth century, Verdi, Bertoja, Attila, Teatro La Fenice, tourism

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