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Title: "Il vero di tante meraviglie" : Tasso's Armida and the power of fantasy in late seventeenth-century opera
Author: Lee, Michael Duncan
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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The romance of Armida and Rinaldo, an episode in Torquato Tasso's epic poem Gerusalemme Liberata (1581), was a popular subject for adaptations in opera from the 1680s, and formed the basis for over sixty operas in the eighteenth century. This study examines the nature and appeal of the character of the enchantress Armida, both in its original poetic context and as a figure for later adaptation on the operatic stage. Tasso's poem, set in the First Crusade and written during the Counter-Reformation, contains overtones of cultural and religious conflict, as well as a fantasy of the re-integration of a divided community, The structure of the poem, Armida 's place in it, and the associations that underpin the character are discussed, as well as the reception of the work in the century following its publication. In the second half of the thesis, three of the first operatic treatments of this subject are discussed: Armide (1686) by Philippe Quinault and Jean-Baptiste Lully, La Gierusalemme Liberata (1687) by Giulio Cesare Corradi and Carlo Pallavicino, and Rinaldo and A/'mida (1698) by John Dennis and John Eccles. Each work, one French, one Italian, and one English, is found to approach the narrative and character from different perspectives, bringing to bear issues of social identity, theatrical form , cultural value and political imagery. The success of Armida as a subject for operatic adaptation is found to be due partly to the means with which the character supplied a range of expressive and representational practices, extending the virtuosic power of fantasy in epic poetry onto the stage
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available