Nineteenth-century Italian ballet music before national unification: Sources, style, and context

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Title: Nineteenth-century Italian ballet music before national unification: Sources, style, and context
Author: Ertz, Matilda Ann Butkas, 1979-
Abstract: Though not widely acknowledged, ballet and its music were important to the nineteenth-century Italian theatre-goer. While much scholarship exists for Italian opera, less study is made of its counterpart even though the ballet was an important feature of Italian theatre and culture. This dissertation is the first in-depth survey of the music for Italian ballets from 1800-1870, drawing from the hundreds of ballet scores in two important collections: The John and Ruth Ward Italian Ballet Collection, part of the Harvard Theatre Collection, and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Research Collections. After discussion of primary and secondary sources (Chapters II and III), I provide an overview of the context in which ballets were performed during the period (Chapter IV). In Chapter V I discuss musical styles for mime and for dance, and dance sub-categories such as the pas de deux, ballabile, and national dances. I also explore specific commonly occurring choreo-musical sub-topics such as anger, love, storms, hell, witches, devils, and sylphs. Finally, I examine two complete ballets in detail. Chapter VI on Salvatore Viganò's La Vestale includes a discussion of the hitherto neglected manuscript full score and of the published piano reduction. Chapter VII on Giuseppe Rota's Bianchi e Negri explores the musical and dramatic adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin . While examining the traits of Italian ballet music as a genre and exploring relationships between music, dance, and libretto, this dissertation initiates a wider discussion of the social-political context of ballet music in nineteenth-century Italian theatrical life during the turbulent decades spanning the 'Risorgimento' period.
Description: xxiv, 603 p. : ill. (some col.) A print copy of this thesis is available through the UO Libraries. Search the library catalog for the location and call number.
Date: 2010-09

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