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Title: Saverio Mercadante and France (1823-1836)
Author: Placanica, Francesca
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the impact of Mercadante’s operas in France during the 1820s and 1830s. The study covers a period from the French premiere of Elisa e Claudio in Paris (1823) up to the period immediately preceding the worldpremiere of Il giuramento (Milan, La Scala, 11 March 1837), which is traditionally regarded as the first of Mercadante’s ‘reform’ operas and the watershed of his mature style. Modern music historians and early biographers have suggested that Mercadante’s encounter with French operatic conventions was the trigger for his ‘reform’ impulse, which the composer himself acknowledged in one of his most famous letters. As a contribution to discussion of Mercadante’s stylistic developments, I examine a number of case studies which probe the French reception of his early output. Chapter 1 provides a historical survey of French critical assessments of Mercadante in the nineteenth century, revealed in the ongoing discourse of the time regarding Italian opera in France. Chapter 2 explores the critical reception of Elisa e Claudio, staged at the Théâtre Italien in 1823. Chapter 3 studies the process of transfer that brought about the transformation of Elisa e Claudio into the pasticcio Les Noces de Gamache, produced for the Théâtre de l’Odéon by the composer Luc Guénée in 1825. Chapter 4 reconstructs Mercadante’s sojourn in Paris and the genesis of I briganti during the 1835-36 season at the Théâtre Italien. Chapter 5 frames the Italian performances of I briganti and the related revision process in the context of Mercadante’s French experience. In focusing on the intertwined responses of Franco-Italian music criticism, this study of Mercadante’s early operas shows the value of the study of pan-European criticism and of cultural transfer as a larger framework within which to locate studies of Mercadante’s developments in style and aesthetics.
Supervisor: Quince, Eleanor ; Gadd, Trixie ; Gossett, Philip ; Wittmann, Michael ; Everist, Mark ; Izzo, Francesco Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: ML Literature of music ; PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater